Iberville's jobless rate goes up again

Deidre Cruse

Iberville Parish's unemployment rate rose by nearly a point from April to May, from 10.7 to 11.6 percent, according to the latest report from the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

The statewide rate went up from 7.4 to 8.1 percent, and the national rate held steady at 8.7 percent, the report showed. The rate for the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area, of which Iberville is a part, went up from 7.6 to 8.4 percent. Iberville continued to have the area's second highest rate; St. Helena Parish, with 13.4 percent, continued to have the highest rate.

In May 2010, Iberville's rate was 9.9 percent; the state's, 7.2 percent, and the nation's, 9.3 percent. Louisiana had 12 parishes with double-digit unemployment. This May, Iberville was one of 19 parishes with a jobless rate above 10 percent.

In the latest report, West Carroll Parish had a rate of 17 percent, the state's highest, and Terrebonne Parish had the lowest at 5.9 percent.

Iberville had 10,874 employed workers and 1,423 unemployed, 110 more than in April. A year earlier, Iberville had 11,195 employed and 1,231 unemployed workers.

Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. said he is getting 25 to 30 resumes a week from residents looking for jobs.

“A lot of these contractors' work is shut down right now,” Ourso said, because of “this bad economy.”

“Construction work is not available,” he said. “This is the worst I've seen it. It's going through a cycle.”

Unemployment, along with sales tax collections, is leading indicators of the local economy. After a string of some six record years, the slack off in industrial construction is taking a toll on sales tax receipts as well. As of May, parishwide sales tax collections totaled nearly $25.8 million, down $5.7 million from the previous year.