Loretta Cass, right, gives Breaud’s Seafood and Steaks’ manager Brittany Bryant payment for her meal Friday afternoon on Main Street. Bryant said that she has had problems finding employees to fill open positions at the restaurant.

Unemployment: Are the jobs out there?

Published 12:39am Sunday, August 28, 2011

Explaining high unemployment numbers in Adams County and Concordia Parish to businesses around the Miss-Lou that report frequent troubles filling job openings takes a willingness to understand the big picture.

Unemployment numbers in Adams County and Concordia Parish were higher in July than those in each respective state and in the nation.

The latest numbers put Adams County’s unemployment at 11.4 percent and Concordia’s at 12.1 percent.

Mississippi’s rate was 11.1 percent. Louisiana’s rate was 7.9 percent.

Breaud’s Seafood and Steaks employee Richard Fleming prepares a hamburger for a customer Friday afternoon on Main Street.

The national average was 9.3 percent.

Of Adams County’s 13,460-person labor force, 1,540 people were unemployed as of July 2011.

Of Concordia Parish’s 7,235-person labor force, 873 people were unemployed in July.

Yet Brittany Bryant, a manager at Breaud’s Seafood and Steaks in Natchez, said she cannot find employees to fill open positions at the restaurant.

Breaud’s expanded this year to go from accommodating 30-35 people at a time to seating 105 people at a time, and because of that, Bryant said, the restaurant has increased its business significantly and sought out new employees.

“The problem is basically finding good, consistent help,” she said. “What I see here is there are jobs out there, and people want a job and they want money, but they don’t want to do all that’s required of them to make money.”

Bryant said she’s hired people who will work one weekend to make quick tips, then leave.

“(The chef’s manager) also told some people up here, ‘Whoever learns how to cut meat and will cut meat, you’ll immediately get a raise,’ but nobody has even tried to learn to do it,” she said.

WIN Job Center Branch Director Peggy Ballard said sometimes, though, you have to look at an individual’s situation.

“People are in need, but so many times there are low-wage part-time jobs, and they can create transportation issues, child care issues — it’s kind of like they aren’t earning enough to be holding a job,” she said. “Of course what people want are full-time jobs with benefits, and those are harder to find. I’m not saying they’re not out there, but there are fewer of them.”

Ballard said a new mindset that supports public transportation could make an impact on the problem.

“We’re pretty spoiled to jumping in a car and going where we want to go, because we’re in a small, rural town,” she said. “I think it’s an adjustment we need to make.”

Other workers don’t bring the needed skills to the table, Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin pointed out.

“Some jobs require more education and training, and sometimes we are not able to fulfill that,” he said. “And getting qualified workers is difficult to do around here.”

Economic turnaround?

The national economists say the recession that started in 2007 ended in 2009.

But local business people know that the Miss-Lou was dealt its biggest blow before the recession even began — when International Paper and several other major local industries closed.

Because of that, the recession likely didn’t mean as much in the Miss-Lou, area leaders say.

But it certainly didn’t help.

Barry Loy, director of retail operations for Supermarket Operations — which owns all the area Markets — said he’s seen little to no improvement since the reported 2009 end to the national recession.

“People are really watching their pennies,” he said. “People just aren’t spending as much money right now. Everybody is really holding their dollars close to them.”

In his grocery stores, the penny pinching is most evident when looking at what customers are buying, Loy said.

“Instead of buying national brands, they’re buying generic brands,” he said. “Where they used to buy steak, now they’re buying hamburger.”

McGlothin said rural areas always have an unemployment rate 2 of 3 percent higher than larger areas.

“If there are jobs, they are usually going to go to bigger cities,” he said. “That is why in area’s like ours, landing any type of business is a good thing.”

Recent announcements that Elevance Renewable Sciences and Enersteel will locate in Adams County, employing 175 and 100 respectively, may be the turnaround the area needs, though, Ballard said.

“There’s a lot of excitement about that, so we’ve seen an increase (of people at the job center), but it’s hard to judge the reason for that,” she said. “Earlier this week, it was pretty much standing room only.”

Ballard said she could feel that something is different.

“A lot of times, you can feel things being still — that people just aren’t hiring,” she said. “Now it feels like that has broken and there’s movement.

“It’s weird how you can feel it.”

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland agreed.

“Natchez bringing in (Enersteel and Elevance) is going to help us tremendously by allowing us to talk to more industries,” he said. “In the next few weeks (Vidalia) is planning on announcing another industry coming to the area that will bring 25 to 30 more jobs along with it.”

Concordia Parish Economic and Industrial Development District Executive Director Heather Malone said it’s precisely those high unemployment numbers that just might start turning things around.

“That high unemployment rate shows that you have people in the area who are available to work,” she said. “That can be very valuable when it comes to the final decision (for a company looking to locate).

“I do think we are starting to bounce back from this. People are getting more contracts, seeing that they can hire more people and they are actually starting to hire again.”

  • Anonymous

    I think the first of the article summed it up. People say they want jobs but they are not investing the effort to keep the job. People on welfare say “I need a job” but when one is there, they don’t want to work. They were raised taking the handout from the government and they want something for nothing. These companies that are looking at this area know we have a labor force that won’t work. That is the reason they go somewhere else

  • https://plus.google.com/101785462960818953428/posts Wilson Phillips

    I see young people get hired and they don’t even last a day. They show up late on the first day, and as soon as they find out that they are expected to actually do some work, they quit. They have no work ethic. It’s a shame.

  • Anonymous

    I do all kinds of work here in the ms-lou.When I need extra help I call the employment office and ask for some day labors.I always ask for twice the number I need because by lunch time I will have to get rid of half of them and then the other 3/4 that are left don’t show back for work after lunch .So out of 12 people I end up with 1 maybe 2 people to work that day and then the 2nd day, if I’m lucky I will have 1 show up for work.If you can not find a job use your brian and make your own job, pick up pop cans if you have to.Most folks think they should get paid $12 to $20 an hour, if you dont know how to do anythig you are not going to get that. Go back to school ther is no reason you can not learn a trade or learn 2 or 3 trades that way you are not just stuck to one.Save a little money an buy a used lawn mower an cut grass.The main thing is use your brain.

  • Anonymous

    So, local merchants confirm what ND commenters have been saying for years.  Our “workforce” is hardly such.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if Breaud’s offered the other employees a large enough salary increase to offset the loss of tips?  If not, this is a self serving story tailored to suit the theme.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t follow.  The business expanded and needed to add more servers to accommodate more customers.  There should have been more tips, not less.  Oh, and if people can’t afford to tip, they can’t afford to go out and eat.

  • Anonymous

    Read quote from chef’s manager…. he was trying to recruit their other employees into the kitchen to cut meat and offered them a raise to do so.  Then re-read my other comment.  If they were waitresses/waiters making the improved tips, then offered a meager stipend to go into the kitchen…………………without tips.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, I see.  A good question but a situation that is not at all uncommon.  It is a situation every salaried employee faces.  When I was in college, I worked at a convenience store.  Due to the hours I worked my check was often larger than my manager’s because he was salaried.  I’ve not been an hourly employee in over 12 years.  I sometimes figure what I’d make if I were hourly and, ouch.

  • Anonymous

    I had similar circumstances when I began my career, company put newbies into a field training program at hourly wage, then transferred into office on salary.  At least there I had a long term career path ahead that doesn’t exist for most of these individuals.  These are just jobs, not careers.

  • Anonymous

    Are there feedback opportunities to WIN on these people?  If so, I feel they should be excluded from future assignments, unemployment benefits, welfare, food stamps, medicaid, etc. and let them figure out which they would prefer – work or starve? If not, someone needs to wake up.

  • Anonymous

    “These are just jobs, not careers.”
    Bingo, my friend.  If a person has no marketable career skills, the best they can hope for is a series of low-paying “jobs”.

  • Anonymous

    First of all I realize there are some jobs that some people just do not want to do but if you need money I suppose you have to get off your high horse and get in the mud sometimes to get it. There really are not enough jobs anywhere for people to work and actually make a living. Most of them now especially minimum wage jobs only let you work a few hours a day or a few days a week to be 30 hours or less. People simply can not do much with that. It is a little money to maybe buy a little gas or or few items but it does not even come close enough to live on. i do not know about anyone else but another minimum wage job coming into an area is not my idea of job growth. granted it may hire a few people and help ease some but nothing to write home about. We need some serious jobs, something that people can make a living at and support a family on and these few hours a day at minimum wage is just not going to cut it. Most times with those day labor workers they are either convicts on the run or they are drug/ alcoholics that are just looking for a little cash to get the next fix. As for labor skills being limited People just do not have the money to go get new skills or college anymore it has all sky rocketed to the point people just can’t afford it and it seems no one does OJT anymore so that’s why so many are unskilled.

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of WIN, I found it typical that the WIN representative blamed a lack of daycare and public transportation for the refusal of people to work.  So, not only is the taxpayer supposed to foot the bill for finding them jobs, we are supposed to foot the bill for their transportation and daycare so they can file their taxes in January and get back thousands of dollars they didn’t even pay in.

    The new face of slavery is the tax-paying middle-class.  We work, others who do not reap the rewards of our labor.

  • Anonymous

    “As for labor skills being limited People just do not have the money to go get new skills or college anymore it has all sky rocketed to the point people just can’t afford it and it seems no one does OJT anymore so that’s why so many are unskilled.”

    No offense but that is nonsense.  I worked my butt off to get through school and gain some marketable skills.  My folks didn’t have money to send me to college so I worked about 50-60 hours a week in addition to my school load.  I’d go to work at 11pm and not get off until 9 the next morning.  Then it was straight off to classes which finished up about 3pm.  Then it was back home to try to get a little homework done before I went to sleep to be at work at 11pm again.  To pick up extra money, I detailed cars in the blazing sun when I could.  I lived on hamburger helper and Ramen noodles and pretty much ALL fun was put on hold.

    I was hardly the only one.  Besides, many of these people can go to school absolutely cost-free and just don’t because it is too much like work.

  • Anonymous

    Whew, for the first few lines there, i thought you were describing Wal Mart.  It is interesting that WIN is the route of choice that the new industries use, primarily to exclude the cons or druggies from the pool they have to formally interview.  The help wanted ads in the ND are quite sparse most days and I don’t recall one at all from Breaud’s.  If businesses would use the help wanted outlet, I think you would see their applications improve, both quantity and quality.

    No, I do not work for the Democrat/Republican.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, most qualified people do not use WIN.  Since WIN is the avenue of choice for incoming industry (primarily to weed out cons and druggies so they don’t waste their time) the result is that those industries are “bottom feeding” our available workforce.  Ergo, you have the transportation and day care problems that WIN sees.  Further, since available jobs are sparsely advertised in the ND/R (R added due to their stance on throttling entitlements in todays editorial), we have jobs available that qualified people are unaware of.  Perhaps the Chamber should undertake a local effort to resolve this disconnect.  Whenever I travel, local newspapers have loads of all type jobs advertised, we have around 8-10 per day average.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s a generational thing going on here . Some of the laziest and unreliable workers at our job are the younger set  ( 19-24 years old ) . Not all of them are this way , but there are a significant number of them that are . I’ve found that the best workers at my job , even the new hires ! tend to be older workers . If you look around you’ll see them . Many of these individuals are close to retiring or have come back into the work force due to economic situations . If you are seriously looking for good workers please don’t over look the older worker . They are dedicated , show up on time and have no issues working weekends or overtime .

  • Daniel Archer

    “No offense but that is nonsense.  I worked my butt off to get through
    school and gain some marketable skills.  My folks didn’t have money to
    send me to college so I worked about 50-60 hours a week in addition to
    my school load.  I’d go to work at 11pm and not get off until 9 the next
    morning.  Then it was straight off to classes which finished up about
    3pm.  Then it was back home to try to get a little homework done before I
    went to sleep to be at work at 11pm again.  To pick up extra money, I
    detailed cars in the blazing sun when I could.  I lived on hamburger
    helper and Ramen noodles and pretty much ALL fun was put on hold.”

    It is commendable what you did. I believe that many people would be capable of doing this if they were given the right tools (upbringing) and inspiration from their families. I think in the current environment what you did is exceptional. I think the big question we have to ask ourselves is this: If a majority of people in a society are having a problem is it an individual problem or is it a reflection on society.

  • Ham Bone

    You’re right. There are jobs in the area that go unadvertised because employers don’t want to have to waste their time on the politically correct interviews that WIN would send their way. I hear of people starting new jobs all over town, and I often frequent the WIN website just to get a gauge of what jobs are out there. Never do the two coincide.

    Obama promised hope, but the very ones that championed his elections have no more hope now than before. Until we get some real reform, there will be no hope for us taxpayers. A good friend of mine told me this once “America is the only place where you can not work and still gain weight”.

  • Ham Bone

    And that is what is not being stressed at home. Too many of these kids are too cool for school and the parents (if you can call them that) don’t care. There has got to be some reform in the assistance programs before there will be any change in the workforce.

  • Ham Bone

    Ask those older employees what their kids are doing. I’d bet their kids work and make a living for themselves. Those 19-24 year olds that you speak of likely have parents that don’t work, and live off the system. There’s no one at home pushing them to do better. The system doesn’t encourage getting off of it.

  • Anonymous

    I second that one, Ham Bone! When I relocated to Natchez, I couldn’t find a job…because I somehow managed to not learn of the WIN center’s existence, and there was nothing but medical and truck drivers advertised in the newspaper. I couldn’t believe it! The jobs are advertised by word of mouth, and if you’re not from here, you don’t hear of them at all. I’ve never seen a place that doesn’t put jobs in the paper like Natchez. Ads can’t be that costly! It’s got to be the poor work ethic, which I’ve seen is highly pervasive, and the drug testing that is also widely needed, along with enforcement of negative results. There are some basic things that can be done to hold people accountable…like the suggestion above about excluding those unwilling to work from receiving tax dollars, and not letting people quit, but face the music…how do you do that when they’ve vanished on you? If families aren’t teaching work ethics, can we somehow work that into the school system? And not let kids just quit school so easily? In the state I just moved from, if kids didn’t show up in school a certain number of days, they came after the parents for the truancy…accountability. That’s something we seem to lack here…too much “good ole boy” networking that glazes it over by being nice to so-and-so’s kid. Sometimes being held accountable doesn’t feel good, but learning responsibility toward others is a necessary skill that isn’t being learned here. Enough soap-boxing…probably preaching to the choir.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the kind words.  In reality, my Mom should get all the credit because that is how I was taught.

  • Anonymous

    I read it as the kitchen staff was given the opportunity to learn how to cut meat.  If that was the case then someone should’ve jumped on it, a raise is a raise.

  • Anonymous

    “(The chef’s manager) also told some people up here…”.  I read it differently, looks to me like up here is in the sitting area, down there is likely the kitchen.  Your comment is correct, a raise is a raise, unless it results in less income due to loss of tips.

  • Ham Bone

    Yeah probably preaching to the choir. You will notice the ones posting about the murder won’t be found posting about job creation, accountability, responsibility an the like.

  • Anonymous

    OK, I agree that ND should provide no/low/reduced cost of advertising for job openings.  After all, promoting business success is promoting advertising.

    It is the norm to hire the first person to be called to your attention by a friend or relative, just look at city/county government – how long has it been since you’ve seen a job posting from those entities?  The County Administrator was an exception and the Road Manager position that is already known for some time to be retiring has yet to be posted.  I can’t recall any city jobs being posted, locally at least.  Over the past couple of years, perhaps the city planner and the grant writer were, but those usually are hired from outside the area – due to lack of local credentials?  My feeling is that this practice bypasses the opportunity to hire someone with better credentials by not looking at other candidates.

    It is common practice elsewhere to at least look at outside alternatives before promoting from within for higher level positions, e.g. Concordia Parish Schools recently posted the Ferriday Lower Elementary Principal position and interviewed outside candidates before choosing to promote from within.  I don’t think this exists on the east side of the river

    Welcome to Natchez, and I hope you have found reasonable employment by now.

  • Anonymous

    As usual, some maintain there aren’t enough good jobs, others that there aren’t enough good workers. The correct answer is, of course, both.
    And waiting tables or washing dishes are indeed career jobs, if that is all you learn to do or if you aspire to nothing better – or to nothing at all.

    After Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the poor promptly surrendered. We have been subsidizing our victory ever since.   

  • Anonymous

    I know that min. wage is not very much money ,but a little money is better than no money,and as far as education you can get low income grants that you do not have to pay back that will pay for your schooling.Co-Lin has all types of trade programs that if you have lost your job do to the economic reseaons then you can get afree grant for that.The problem is that a lot of folks would rather have a free hand out than pick themself up off the bottom of the barrel.This is where drug testing comes in if you get welfare or food stamps.IF YOU HAVE MONEY TO BUY DRUGS ,BEER,OR CIGARETTS YOU DON’T NEED HELP.I have to be drug tested for a job so I think if you get gov. help you should go thru the drug test.

  • Anonymous

    yes there are feed back forms , but it is just a waste of ink.I have had them try to send me the same workers back within 2 days.The state is worried someone will sue do to discermanation.

  • Anonymous

    People will find any excuse to let the government keep supporting them, bottom line.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PJYRCK3MJP5WIADNZ5476BWVMM Kathy

    I wish I could still wait tables. I’d apply at Breaud’s tomorrow!

  • Ham Bone


  • Anonymous

    Good comments.  Please don’t waste your working years here waiting on those jobs to come to you.  Social security may not be there when you get to that age.  Best of luck.

  • Anonymous

    Need courts with backbone, rule should be loser pays as some have said, let ‘em sue.

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations on your academic achievements.
    If you are from here, you should have known better than to come back here! You arrived to early, please feel free to come back to this “retirement community” once you have made your wealth. We need smart people such as yourself to go make the money and retire here! Until then, good luck!

    PS: I thought you had very good comments, but this area will never change.

  • Anonymous

    Funny how the illegals can find a job, no?

    As for those complaining about lack of jobs or careers here I have a word of advice.  MOVE!  Just like the Okies in the Great Depression.  Pack up and MOVE.

    Go look at the unemployment rates in Nebraska, N Dakota, S Dakota, Kansas.  They are 4%, 5%, and 6%.  Here they are almost 12%  Duh!!

    Go look THERE for a job.  Sitting on your hands here ain’t going to feed you and no one here wants to listen to your whining.

  • Anonymous

    Correction, the government is feeding them with food stamps while they sit on their hands here, providing transportation, and medicaid, section 8 housing, and free easter egg hunts, school uniforms, school lunches, etc. etc..  What else would one need?  Black or white, many get the same bennies. Plus, they get the right to vote!

  • tigereye1

    The problem is that our government GIVES them way too much to sit on the corner and do NOTHING , so why would they want to work for it !!! I can assure you , If I lose my job here today , I will be working in the next couple of day’s !!! If not here then somewhere else

  • Anonymous

    Good post.  That is why I left Natchez.  A college education in Natchez means you’ll be able to carry on an intellectual conversation with the customers whose dinner you’ll serve.

  • Anonymous

    Dropping kids like flies,living with 2 or 3 different people,most cars are in their grandparents or other family members names..working the system,,freebies,free health,dental truck rolling around..they are not poor or disadvangted,,they  like it just the way it is..they have more monies than a lot of working people..it,s knowing how to work the system and scream foul play at every turn.who are they trying to fool,,,?

  • Anonymous

    I can tell you first hand that the democrats ads are expensive, Word of mouth and referrals work for me, but my workforce is very small. I could open a place like breauds tommorow but no way in Natchez. Blame who you want The democrat, the blue hairs or the workforce today’s times promote the illegal activities and the moochers. I have been an employee and/ or owner in the tourism industry since 1988, and times have really changed since the turn of the century. The 18-22 yr olds in the 1990′s would beat the doors down to work in the local restaurants/bars, not today they seem embarrassed and entitled to better. I can assure you most have no clue that our local waiters/waitresses make tips any where from 12 to 40 an hour, the real good ones even more. But it takes the WANT TOO!!!

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com Kevin Cooper


  • Anonymous

    The WIN job center offers multiple Trades for people to go into such as nursing, welding, etc…Its just people dont take advantage..Lazy, Lazy, Lazy

  • Anonymous

    I am so biased I just have to tell you so. I am very biased when it comes to people that are not only full of hatred, they adore spewing their hatred to all they disagree with. AND YOU ARE JUST THAT. From your comment it appears you just might burst with the hatred you live with. The world would be a much better place without your hateful attitude. Spew your hatred amongst your friends, if you have any, and leave the rest of us alone. No need for your reply. I will not ever again waste my precious moments on anything you have to say. 

  • Anonymous

     As a frequenter of Breaud’s restaurant, it is quite amusing to read the “weary” words of manager Brittany Bryant,
    as she wonders why she simply cannot keep Breaud’s properly staffed. Her
    blame of employees not willing to “put forth the effort to work for their money” only applies to 2 employees (who she refuses to fire even when they smoke weed on the job, or show clear symptoms of being on drugs), while the rest of her waitstaff carries their weight. On busy weekends, I have seen the same waitresses carrying tray after tray of food out of the kitchen, while other employees mull around looking lost.
    BUT HERE IS THE REAL KICKER: the management at Breaud’s is what is REALLY lacking. Their professionalism, respect for customers, and treatment of their waitstaff all show the crass, immature underbelly of co-owner Glenn Breaud and his girlfriend, Brittany Bryant. Reviews on major trip advisory websites all share accounts of their horrible experiences with Glenn’s temper tantrums, refusal to recook food, and refusing apology to upset customers. His motto is, “If you don’t like it, don’t come here.” The customer is NOT always right.
     I was at Breaud’s last Saturday night with my family, and in the middle of our meal, we heard obscenities being screamed from the kitchen. Our waitress emerged looking visibly shaken, and I asked if all was well. She wouldn’t say what happened, but Glenn stormed out of the kitchen several minutes later, obviously in the middle of a tantrum. The fact that he yells and curses at his employees in earshot of customers (or really at all) shows exactly why Breaud’s Seafood and Steak cannot (and will not) ever have a full waitstaff.

  • Wendy Schwager

    WOW! I can’t wait until I come back to Natchez!!! First place I am going is that restaurant and I HOPE they treat me like crap. First of all, let me start off with I majored in Management Information Systems. While that is IT related, it is a business degree to where I took high level management courses. The number 1 “no no” in most businesses is for an employee to date a superior. To Brittany, her boyfriend Glenn would be a superior. It’s no wonder that she can’t manage considering the fact that I am willing to bet she only got her job from dating the owner. And let me guess, those 2 employees who don’t carry on their weight are her friends? Wouldn’t surprise me and it really does not surprise me that there is this kind of environment in Natchez. Being in the restaurant industry is part of the “hospitality” industry. How can you consider yourself a hospitible business and stay open when you treat customers like crap?

    Also, if you refuse to recook food, that can be considered a health code violation.. especially if it is undercooked! Like I said, I can’t wait to make it back to Natchez!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know what to say about Breaud’s…. It does sound like they are trying. Jobs are out there ,but they are not going to come to you.

  • Anonymous

    True. Whatever you do, do it proudly and work hard. Who knows? It may lead to more than you could have ever dreamed.