Louisiana jobless rates still high after hurricanes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 28, 2005

St. John, St. Charles unemployment stats still not available after Hurricane Katrina

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana unemployment figures, still a hit-and-miss proposition after Katrina, indicates a 17.5 percent jobless rate in November for the New Orleans metropolitan statistical area.

That area includes the parishes of St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, St. Tammany, Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines.

St. James Parish went from 9 percent last November to 16.2 percent in November 2005, with 7,282 working and 1,408 jobless in November.

As a comparison point, November figures for 2004 showed a jobless rate of only 4.6 percent, which illustrates the impact of Katrina on unemployment statistics.

That 17.5 percent rate for November also compares to the October figure of 16.9 percent. In November, there were 9,709 employed in the New Orleans MSA, with 82,298 unemployed. Comparing this to November 2004, there were 591,458 working and only 28,322 not working.

Further breakdowns by parishes were not possible, due to the massive number of households unable to report.

The Houma and Lafayette MSAs doubled their unemployment rates over the course of the year. Houma went from 5.0 to 10.9 percent, and Lafayette went from 4.4 to 8.5 percent.

Lake Charles MSA, including Calcasieu and Cameron parishes, hardest-hit by Hurricane Rita, more than tripled their jobless rates. Calcasieu went from 5.3 to 16.2 percent, while Cameron went from 4.7 to 10.5 percent. Monroe MSA went from 5.5 to 7.3 percent, while Shreveport went from 5.7 to 7.1 percent and Alexandria went from 5.4 to 8.4 percent.