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Unemployment rate up in River ParishesL’Observateur / July 29, 1998LAPLACE – Unemployment rates in the River Parishes are on the rise once more, following several months of dropping, spelling bad news for St. Johnthe Baptist Parish.

Louisiana Secretary of Labor Garey Forster said that was part of a state- wide indicator of increasing diversification of the state’s economy.

“We experience a similar increase in local unemployment rates each year in June as students graduating or on summer break enter the workforce,” Forster added.

“The good news is that the June 1998 rates are lower than the June 1997 rates in every parish except a few whose manufacturing sectors have been impacted by events outside of Louisiana,” Forster continued.

One of those parishes where the rates went up was St. John the BaptistParish, which rate increased from 5.3 percent in May 1998 and from 6.4percent in June 1997 to 6.9 percent in June 1998.That joblessness increase in St. John Parish reflected a drop in the totalof those without jobs from 1,000 to 1,400 persons. The volume ofemployed, meanwhile, increased but only from 18,500 to 18,600 persons.

Meanwhile, the rates have climbed in St. Charles and St. James parishesbut not to the degree as in St. John Parish.In St. Charles, the jobless rate climbed from 4.1 percent to 5.2 percent,which is still less than the 6.6 rate reported for June 1997. Employedtotals went from 21,600 to 21,800 persons, while unemployed went from 900 to 1,200 persons.

In St. James, the jobless rate climbed from 6.4 to 9.3 percent, which isstill less than the 10.8 percent reported for June 1997. Employed totalsstayed at 8,400 persons, while unemployed went from 900 to 1,200 persons.

Lincoln Parish topped the state in lowest jobless rates with 3.1 percent.East Carroll Parish had the worst unemployment rate with 14.6 percent.However, in East Carroll’s case, that was an improvement from the June 1997 rate of 17.7 percent.Forster continued: “Louisiana’s labor market has come a long way in the past year. In June 1997, the highest unemployment rate in the state was30.0 percent in Red River Parish, more than double the highest June 1998preliminary rate. Our goal for June 1999 is to cut the highest rate in halfonce again, which will mean single-digit unemployment rates across the state.”

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