Jobless rate edges down in November

Deidre Cruse

Iberville’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.9 percent in November, according to the latest report from the Louisiana Workforce Commission (formerly the Department of Labor).

The local rate was 7.2 percent in October.

The November rate was, however, substantially higher than the 4.5 percent posted here in November 2007. It was 1.4 percent higher than the national rate of 6.5 percent, 1.9 percent higher than the statewide rate of 5.0 percent and 2.1 percent higher than the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for the same month.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Louisiana was one of only five states with a decrease in its unemployment rate, and one of only nine with an increase in non-farm employment.

“These are all welcome signs during a period when the economy is struggling,” LWC Executive Director Tim Barfield said. “However, we’re watching the employment picture very closely because we know that the national economy is affecting Louisiana in ways that may night be fully reflected in these numbers.”

In November 2007, the national rate was 4.5 percent, and the statewide rate was 3.4 percent.

Many of the people affected by recent layoffs at the General Motors plant in Shreveport, and the International Paper mill in Bastrop were not receiving unemployment benefits in November because of their severance packages.

Morehouse Parish, where Bastrop is located, nevertheless had the highest unemployment rate of any parish in the state, at 11.7 percent. Lafayette Parish had the lowest rate in the state, at 3.4 percent.

In Iberville Parish, there were 11,765 workers in jobs, and 873 unemployed in November. That is compared to 11,843 employed and 923 unemployed in October, and to 11,765 employed and 558 unemployed in November 2007.