Louisville metro lost 16,100 jobs during the first year of the current recession, according to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The report spanned from December 2007 to December 2008. It showed more than half of the losses occurred in the final quarter of last year.

“For Louisville metro, this is equivalent to a 2.5 percent decline in the number of non-farm payroll jobs,” said Uric Dufrene, Sanders chair of the Indiana University Southeast Business Department.

“This is less than the Indiana percentage change of a 3.7 percent decline, but more than the 2 percent decline in the U.S.”

Louisville metro includes Floyd, Clark, Harrison and Washington counties in Southern Indiana.

Manufacturing job losses totaled 4,600 since 2007, the hardest hit sector in terms of cuts during the recession.

“This is quite costly in terms of the overall economy because manufacturing jobs pay well and typically represent an infusion of new dollars to the local economy,” Dufrene said.

The leisure and hospitality sector — which includes food and drinking places as well as accommodation and food services — lost 2,000 jobs. Overall, retail trade lost 300 jobs, which Dufrene said is good news.

“Given the overall state of the economy and the general retrenchment of the consumer, this is quite positive. But this is what we’ve been expecting all along. Louisville metro retailers have shed several thousand jobs over the past six or seven years,” Dufrene said.

Government saw the only increase in non-farm payroll jobs, but Dufrene predicts constrained budgets in 2009 could lead to cutbacks in the sector.

Health and education services reported their first declines last December. Continued cuts occurred in professional and business services, which Dufrene said is typical during a recession.

“Most of these losses have occurred in administrative services, which include temporary labor services,” he said.

Breaking down the figures month-to-month, Dufrene said Louisville metro created 3,000 fewer jobs from January to December 2008. The area usually adds about 22,000 jobs a year.

“This is the largest January to December decline since 1990,” Dufrene said.

The BLS report arrived on the heels of a study by the U.S. Department of Labor that showed Indiana’s jobless rate climbed to 8.2 percent last December — which tied South Carolina for the highest percentage increase of 1.1 percent from November to December.

During his State of the City address Monday, New Albany Mayor Doug England promised to work with state and federal officials to bring more companies and thus jobs to the area. He said a company that could hire up to 300 workers is eyeing New Albany and others could follow.

England’s plan to entice businesses includes bringing Grant Line West Industrial Park online, infrastructure improvements and building a coordinated relationship with economic development players such as One Southern Indiana, Develop New Albany and the New Albany Urban Enterprise Association.

Lindsay Swearingen, president of Specialty Earth Sciences, cited One Southern Indiana as an “invaluable resource” in helping the company amplify its New Albany operation.

“The assistance of this key community partner has been a critical component in the decision to grow our business here in New Albany,” Swearingen said.

The company announced Tuesday it will expand its headquarters and field operations that will create up to 18 additional jobs by 2012. Earth Sciences also will invest more than $840,000 to build and equip a new 8,700-square-foot building in the Grant Line Business Park.

But the number of workers being laid off is swamping the amount of new jobs in Southern Indiana.

Recent cuts include 193 employees at Beach Mold and Tool Inc. in New Albany, 80 workers laid off by Kimball Office in Borden and 164 employees relieved of their duties at ACCENT LLC in New Albany.

Recent cuts in Southern Indiana

• 193 employees at Beach Mold and Tool Inc. in New Albany

• 164 employees at ACCENT LLC in New Albany

• 80 employees at Kimball Office in Borden

So you know

• Government saw the only increase in non-farm payroll jobs

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