Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks at the opening of a special session of the state legislature in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, Feb. 13, 2017.

Credit Gov. John Bel Edwards with finding a way to put an optimistic picture on Louisiana’s employment environment. Which means he has to avoid mentioning the rest of the story.

Last month, Edwards extolled the state’s lowest unemployment rate since 2008. He said this declining rate, which included the fewest unemployed since that period as well, benefited from workforce programs.

What he didn’t say was these programs actually appeared largely ineffective when facing larger trends, principally a precipitous decline in the labor force. Almost a decade ago, that registered the highest in state history, at 62.3 percent. Last month, it stood at


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