Parish jobless rate rises, still among lowest in state

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 27, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – The good news is that for the third month in a row, Concordia Parish has Louisiana’s seventh-lowest unemployment rate – compared to early last year, when its jobless rate was at or near the state high. The bad news is that, according to figures released Thursday by the Louisiana Department of Labor, Concordia Parish’s actual jobless rate for December is up from November 2000 and from December 1999.

Concordia Parish had 10.4 percent unemployment for December, up from 9.5 percent in November 2000 and 8.7 percent in December 1999.

But the increase in unemployment is due in large part to seasonal fluctuations, said Sally Frazier, interim director of Ferriday’s Labor Department office.

&uot;It’s always seasonal, due to weather conditions that affect construction and due to the fact that farmers quit (planting) during this time of year,&uot;&160;Frazier said.

&uot;The parishes that have higher unemployment than Concordia are probably farming parishes, too,&uot;&160;she added. &uot;They’re in the same boat we are.&uot;

That is the case with East Carroll Parish, a largely agricultural parish also located in northeast Louisiana.

At 17 percent, that parish had the state’s highest jobless rate for December. Lincoln Parish had the state’s lowest unemployment rate, at 3 percent.

Locally, Catahoula Parish had state’s third-highest jobless rate at 13.6 percent, up from 12.6 percent in November. Tensas Parish had 9.1 percent unemployment, up from 8.4 percent in November.

Louisiana as a whole had record employment for December, with 1,937,400 people working, said Labor Secretary Garey Forster.

&uot;The best part of such news, though, is that the growth was spread across the state,&uot; Forster said in a statement released Thursday.

&uot;The highest percentage of the growth in nonagricultural employment over the year occurred in the services industry,&uot; he added.

&uot;However, the second highest percentage was in the mining industry …, continuing the steady comeback of an industry that has for years been synonymous with Louisiana.&uot;