Jobless rate climbs to 7.5%


By Times Staff

The latest figures from the Louisiana Department of Labor show Natchitoches Parish’s unemployed rose to 7.5% in October, up from 6.0 a year ago. However, that’s still better than the state’s ranking of 9.3% . According to the latest statistics, the number of unemployed workers in the parish rose by 222 from a year ago.

In October 2019, the number of those out of work was 988 individuals. Today that number is 1,201. It’s also an increase of 75 more jobless workers from September of this year. Natchitoches Parish had 14,823 residents employed in October. However, a year ago, there were 15,611 workers. That’s a drop of 788 people listed as employed.

The state’s number of employed workers dropped 81,562 between this October and last year. The number of unemployed workers also climbed 91,361 people from 105,844 a year ago to 197, 250 this October. The unemployment rate nearly doubled from 5.0% to 9.3%. In a comparison of four other communities with about the same number of employed workers, Natchitoches Parish was the third lowest of the group.

Vernon Parish (Leesville) had the lowest unemployment % at 6.9%. Vernon has an available workforce of 14,588. Beauregard Parish (DeRidder) was next with a rate of 7.0% unemployed, the lowest in the group, with 13,468 individuals employed.

As a point of note, those two communities are the base for civilian employees for Fort Polk.

Avoyelles Parish (Marksville) had an 8.0% unemployment rate with 14,152 employed workers and Washington Parish (Bogalusa) was at 9.2% unemployed with 14, 486 workers.

The unemployment rate for Sabine Parish was 6.0, while Winn Parish was 7.6%, Grant Parish was 6.6 %, Red River Parish was 6.8% and DeSoto Parish was 7.9%. The Shreveport/Bossier Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was at 9.0 % unemployed. That area includes Caddo, Bossier, DeSoto and Webster.

The greatest loss of jobs during the October reporting period was in the areas south of Interstate 10. The New Orleans area lost the most jobs with a drop of 38,533 between Oct. 2019 and 2020.

The Lake Charles area was hit with a loss of 15,703 jobs during the same period. A list of the state’s MSAs and their unemployment rates for October were: Alexandria 6.6%, Baton Rouge 8.0%, Hammond 10.5%, Houma/Thibodaux 7.9%, Lafayette 8.3%, Lake Charles 11.8%, Monroe 7.7%, New Orleans 11.3%, and Shreveport/Bossier 9.0%.