National May jobs report released today shouldn't concern SWLA residents

SWLA economy

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - "While the numbers nationally look bad our numbers here look good and will probably increase" said RB Smith, Vice President of Workforce Development with the SWLA Economic Development Alliance.

Smith says residents don't have to worry about the numbers released in today's national May jobs report.

"We're two full percent less in unemployment so that means we're employing two percent more than the national average" said Smith.  "We're kind of setting the bar higher for other areas".

According to Smith, there are a lot of things- locally- contributing to this including local plants partnering with foreign countries to ship and trade.  In addition to natural resources being locally handled and traded rather than on a national level.  Smith says construction and expansion are other reasons for the influx in employment.

"The folks that we do have in the construction field who are native to the area are going to find ample work to keep them busy" said Smith.  "Then once the facilities are up and operating that creates a market for their skills to maintain and add on to those facilities as time goes on."

One facility like that in Lake Charles, is the L'auberge casino opening in 2005, creating over 2,000 jobs and falling in the top three of major employers by the SWLA Economic Development Alliance.

"A huge amount of our workforce here are day one employees" said Kerry Andersen, Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs at L'auberge.  "We don't just have jobs here we have careers and we grow people up to positions".

While there seems to be a rise in employment and economic growth in the area, Dr. Michael Kruth, Professor of Economics at McNeese State University, says the national numbers should still be watched with a mindful eye.

"One of the consequences of that is the soaring value of the dollar and you can see that in the fine oil prices" said Kruth.  "That is probably the single biggest determinant of our economy in the future is the value of the I would be very concerned about that" he said.

The national numbers also show private companies cut their hiring but employment increased in health care, transportation and wholesale trade while declining in construction.

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