BATON ROUGE — Over 5,000 individuals have signed a petition calling for Gov. John Bel Edwards to focus on creating more jobs in Louisiana.
The online petition was started by the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch and calls for Edwards to “get people back to work comes after 18 straight months of year-over-year job losses and more than $1 billion in tax increases pushed by the governor last year.”
However, labor statistics show the unemployment rate has been rising over the past few months. In April, the rate was 5.7 percent compared to 6.2 percent in May 2016. It is still above the national average of 4.3 percent.
Melissa Landry, executive director for the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, said that while the data in the new jobs report are encouraging, the state must do better.
“Our communities are suffering," Landry told the Louisiana Record. "We are not anywhere close to regaining all of the jobs that have been lost. Louisiana still has the third unemployment rate in the country. And there are still about 20,000 fewer people working today than there were just two years ago.”
The petition was launched on the organization's Facebook page in May and will be collecting signatures for the rest of the year.
"We are giving as many people as possible a chance to speak out,” Landry said in a statement. “Louisiana policies should support quality job creation—not more taxation and litigation."
Landry said the number of those who have signed demonstrated a need felt by many of those in the state.
“It is clear many people across the state are frustrated by the administration’s appalling lack of concern with growing job losses and unemployment," Landry said in a statement. "We hear constantly about raising taxes and filing lawsuits to address the needs of government, but what about the needs of our workers to find quality jobs?”