Unsplash/Joa Francisco

You’ve been job hunting for months and still no takers. Before you start questioning your resume and cover letter, take a look at where you live. Louisiana was just named the worst state in America to get a job by Zippia. Although Louisiana is one of the best places to see live music, eat and see beautiful architecture, it’s not one of the best when it comes to the job market. From their economy to the prognosis for the future, here’s what has landed Louisiana as the worst state to find a job.

The facts

In certain counties of Louisiana, despite the economy in the U.S. growing stronger, poverty rates have grown by 10.3% from 2009 to 2017. In Caddo Parish county, for example — which has Shreveport, the third largest city in Louisiana — over one in four residents are living in poverty.

For Louisiana on a whole, the median income is roughly, $46,710 per year. The unemployment rate is 5% and as is the case in Caddo Parish, many residents live below the poverty line. Zippia analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey near the end of 2018 to come up with their ranking. Data such as unemployment, improvements in unemployment, incomes, and home values were all factored in.

The economy

To take a deeper look at Louisiana’s job market woes let’s look at their economy. The economy in Louisiana can mainly be divided up into agriculture, manufacturing, mining, fishing, and services. Nearly 60% of all agriculture income in Louisiana comes from crops while 40% comes from livestock. Cane for sugar, cattle, calves, rice, cotton, and soybean are the top five agricultural products produced in the state.

The manufacturing income in Louisiana is primarily generated by cotton products, chemical products such as fertilizers, paints, and plastics. Petroleum and coal processing is the second in the industry. Petroleum and natural gas account for 90% of mining income generated by the state. Louisiana also comes in as one of the leaders in commercial fishing. The state ranks number one in shrimp production. Tourism plays a major role in the service industry here with hotels ranking towards the top. Retail and community-based businesses are low in terms of income generation and most of the real estate sector is centered around the petroleum and gas companies.

You can see from these rankings that the economy in Louisiana is mainly resource based. The state has a huge amount of their employment pool tied to resource extraction. This is much higher than any other state. With petroleum and coal products being Louisiana’s biggest exports, they are feeling the effects of the global oil price dip. Oil prices took a big dive in 2014 that continued into 2016. Louisiana continues to struggle in recuperating from those dips.

With oil prices continuing to plummet, this could mean more job losses in the state. Louisiana is also a state that relies heavily on trade. The trade war with China is a looming problem that could cause more of a problem for the Louisiana job market.

Retail and real estate is another major place of concern for the state. With Amazon and other e-commerce sites eating up retail sales, the commercial real estate market has changed in Louisiana. Large malls sit vacant in parts of the state and those will need to turn into distribution hubs, health care facilities or education centers in order to best use the land. The grocery business in Louisiana hasn’t yet bounced back from the effects of e-commerce. Transportation costs, regulations and shortages in labor are added to the costs of food products and consumers are feeling these increases.

The future

Although the economy and current job market look bleak, there is hope for the future in Louisiana. The low energy costs in Louisiana is a huge bonus for the state. Petrochemical and natural gas companies that need low energy prices have planned over $90 billion in investments in the state. The low electricity rates and low natural gas prices will keep driving much-needed industrial investments in Louisiana.

In the near future, the state is also hoping to increase funding in construction and roadwork. There is a major problem in transportation in the state that has been an on-going crisis. Voters have recently passed a sales tax hike over the next 30-years that will help to fund over $900 million in roadway and transportation improvements. This will also boost jobs in the construction sector.

The other states to watch out for

While Louisiana tops the list as the worst place for job seekers, Zippia has ranked nine other states as well. Zippia analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Service Survey at the end of 2018. Numbers for unemployment, income, the cost of homes, and the cost of homes compared with incomes are all taken into account. The top ten worst states for a job search are ranked below:

1. Louisiana

2. Arizona

3. Kentucky

4. Mississippi

5. Alabama

6. Wyoming

7. West Virginia

8. Alaska

9. New Mexico

10. Connecticut

The higher the state’s unemployment rank is, the worst the state faired. If your income doesn’t go very far in terms of home prices, this is also a ding for the state. When incomes fail to improve greatly, the state climbs higher on the list. Some good news for Iowa residents, you’re sitting at the top of the best-ranked states to find a job.