Moving Forward Archive
Brighter Economic Picture, Good News for St. Landry Parish
Louisiana’s economy has been struggling for quite some time, but all signs show that we are making significant progress. The unemployment rate is going down and job creation and job growth are increasing. We’re still not where we need to be, but we are headed in the right direction.”
Louisiana Governor, John Bel Ewards
Gov. John Bel Edwards has proclaimed it “good news” that Louisiana’s unemployment rate is at its lowest since February of 2014. The better news is that the improved job and overall economic picture is reflected in St. Landry Parish.
“Louisiana’s economy has been struggling for quite some time, but all signs show that we are making significant progress,” Edwards said. “The unemployment rate is going down and job creation and job growth are increasing. We’re still not where we need to be, but we are headed in the right direction.”.
St. Landry Economic Development Director Bill Rodier agrees with that assessment.
“While there are still question marks regionally in oil and gas, there is good evidence to support a stabilizing of the overall Acadiana economy for the balance of 2017 and the potential for growth through 2018,” he said.
He pointed to “front-line indicators,” such as sales tax collections and building permits, that underline steady growth in St. Landry Parish, and said he anticipates the positive trend to accelerate in the parish and throughout the region in coming months.
A survey of employers showed 1,988,800 jobs in Louisiana in June. It found that the state added 4,400 jobs that month, for a total increase of 20,700 for the first half of the year.
Employment in Louisiana peaked in December 2014 at 2,002,400 jobs, before beginning a decline that now appears to be turning around. Louisiana has gained 27,800 jobs since it reached a bottom of 1,961,000 in August 2016, according to state employment figures.
St. Landry Parish has shared in that progress. New business and industrial projects announced here over the past two years have the potential to create more than 800 new, good-paying jobs, and a dozen or more prospects considering location here could add another 500 permanent spots,
“The more we can do as a state to promote the skilled workforce we have here in Louisiana, the better off Louisiana families will be,” the governor said. “That is my ultimate priority at the end of the day.
“No one works harder than the people of Louisiana and those who have been struggling since the oil and gas downturn will not be forgotten,” he said. “I’m going to continue doing all I can to connect every Louisianan looking for the opportunity to provide for themselves or their families with a good job that makes it possible for them to do just that.”
Rodier points out that St. Landry has moved significantly toward the governor’s goal over the past several years. A recent study noted the availability here of a pool of skilled industrial workers, engineers, technicians, scientists, and experienced managers, as well as the availability of on the job training and the availability of training at vocational and technical schools and nearby colleges and universities.
The study found further that the Acadiana region as a whole has seen double-digit expansion of the work force over the last five years in such important areas as manufacturing, technical services, food service, and health care. It also reflected fewer oil- and gas-related jobs due to a sharp drop in prices in the oil patch, but found that even that had a silver lining — many of the job skills used in the petroleum industry are easily transferred to other industries.
“Workforce development is one of our high priorities, and technical and career training is available at many levels in St. Landry Parish,” Rodier said. “Those things, coupled with a proactive stance by the parish’s government, education, and business leaders, will help us take full advantage of this improved economic climate.”
Opelousas, LA 5367I