Figures indicate employment increase in River Parishes

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 12, 2002

BATON ROUGE – Preliminary figures for February indicates an increase in total employment in Louisiana, according to statistics released by the Louisiana Department of Labor Secretary Garey Forster.

Locally, the unemployment rates for the River Parishes dropped noticably.

In St. John the Baptist Parish, the jobless rate dropped from 8.2 to 6.9 percent between January and February, and significantly below the February 2000 mark of 7.8 percent.

In St. Charles Parish, the jobless rate dropped from 5.6 to 4.7 percent, which was a similar improvement over the February 2001 mark of 5.9 percent.

In St. James Parish, the jobless rate dropped from 11.9 to 10.6 percent, far below the February 2001 mark of 13.0 percent. That parish remains the highest in unemployment in the New Orleans metropolitan area.

In the New Orleans metropolitan area, including the River Parishes with Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany parishes, the average jobless rate dropped from 5.6 to 5.0 percent.

The lowest jobless rate in the region was 3.9 percent in St. Tammany Parish.

The lowest jobless rate in Louisiana for February 2002 was marked in Lafourche Parish, which enjoyed a 3.8 percent unemployment mark. West Carroll Parish marked the highest unemployment rate in the state, with 15.8 percent.

The statewide seasonally-adjusted rate for February 2002 was 5.9 percent, Forster said, matching the previous month’s mark but a slight increase from the same month in 2001.

“As in January, perhaps the most encouraging news about the February unemployment data for Louisiana was how well it compared to the national data,” Forster said.

“Total employment, both seasonally and not seasonally adjusted, was down by 1.1 percent over the year at the national level, yet declined by only 0.1 percent over the year in Louisiana,” he continued.

“Also, seven of our eight Metropolitan Statistical Areas had unemployment rates at or below both the seasonally and not seasonally adjusted national rates of 5.5 and 6.1 percent, respectively,” Forster concluded.