Gov. Edwards Celebrates Record-Low July Unemployment, Appoints New Secretary of the Louisiana Workforce Commission

Published 2:23 pm Saturday, August 19, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

BATON ROUGE, La. – According to data released today by the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), Louisiana’s unemployment rate fell to 3.5% in July, the lowest rate ever for the month, beating out July 2022’s then-record 3.6%. Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statement celebrating this record and announcing James ‘Robert’ Wooley as the new secretary of the LWC. Wooley will replace Ava Dejoie Cates, who will resign as secretary on August 31, 2023.

“Our hard, bipartisan work to grow and diversify our economy and create jobs is paying off,” said Gov. Edwards. “I want to once again thank departing LWC Secretary Ava Cates, who has overseen regularly record-breaking employment figures as Louisiana comes back strong from devastating hurricanes and the COVID pandemic. I am confident that LWC is in good hands with new Secretary Robert Wooley. He has a long career in public service, including his recent role as LWC’s assistant secretary of the Unemployment Insurance Administration through the most difficult days of COVID.”

Prior to joining LWC, Wooley was an attorney, former commissioner of insurance, and a respected corporate representative specializing in disaster management, insurance, corporate risk planning, consensus building, and more.

“I would like to commend Secretary Cates for the tremendous amount of work she has done at the LWC over the past eight years. She has fulfilled the agency’s mission of putting people back to work, with more Louisiana citizens employed than ever,” said Secretary Wooley. “Sec. Cates has implemented and grown many programs throughout her tenure. Louisiana has endured many disasters, and she worked diligently around the clock to ensure that our citizens had the resources they needed. I am thankful for this opportunity and I look forward to continuing the agency’s mission.”

Wooley will begin September 1, 2023.