NEWS

Unemployment rate continues increase

DEIDRE CRUSE, Governmental Reporter

Iberville’s unemployment rate rose to 8.8 percent in May, nearly a point higher than in April and a 3.5 percent increase over local rate in May 2008, according to the latest report from the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Iberville’s unemployment rate rose to 8.8 percent in May, nearly a point higher than in April and a 3.5 percent increase over local rate in May 2008, according to the latest report from the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

The local rate was nearly as high as the national rate of 9.1 percent, and substantially higher than the 6.3 percent rate reported for Louisiana and the 6.0 percent rate reported for the nine-parish Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

Over the year, Iberville’s total workforce increased from 12,368 in May 2008 to 12,571, while the number of unemployed workers climbed from 653 to 1,110.

Once again, the local rate was the second highest in the Baton Rouge area. St. Helena Parish continued to have the worst rate at 9.8 percent, up from 6.0 percent in the previous May.

East Baton Rouge Parish’s rate was the lowest in the area, at 5.7 percent, while Ascension Parish had a 5.9 percent rate, and West Baton Rouge, 6.1 percent.

Statewide, the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux MSA had the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.3 percent.

West Carroll Parish continued to have the highest rate, at 15.6 percent, but three other parishes posted double-digit jobless numbers – Morehouse, 14.5; East Carroll, 11.4, and Franklin, 10 percent.

Louisiana’s employment picture continued to outperform the nation’s in May, despite a drop in nonfarm jobs, the Workforce Commission said.

“The details within the employment data do show some signs of hope,” LWC Executive Director Tim Barfield said. “For instance, real estate added 300 jobs and banking added 100 jobs. These could be signs, if they hold up, that we’re starting to bottom out.”

Barfield also noted that health care has added 2,200 jobs and employment in hospitality and leisure jobs