Unemployment rate dropping in Southwest Louisiana - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Unemployment rate dropping in Southwest Louisiana

(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

The unemployment rate is dropping in Southwest Louisiana.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission said the jobless rate in the Lake Charles area dropped nearly two percent in the last year.

An increase in industrial jobs is a factor in that drop, according to a recent report from the 2014 Louisiana Manufacturers Register.
The report said Louisiana has posted three straight years of industrial job increases.

R.B. Smith, vice president of workforce development for Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, said the increase is not a result of the economic expansion. He said it is simply a strengthened economy.

"It's a good thing, because we do see our local businesses that have been here for some time hiring a few new people, getting more people in their operations, because the economy has picked up," Smith said.

While all of Louisiana has seen an increase in manufacturing jobs, it's a one-percent increase in Southwest Louisiana. Smith said the percentage may seem small but has the potential to make a difference.

"In the industrial industry here we have about 7,000 workers so a one-percent increase is 70 new jobs," Smith said. "Seventy new jobs are 70 families getting top pay in the Lake Area."

That's not where the growth stops, though. Smith said the newly employed industry workers' families will benefit the Lake Area, too.
 
"That has a ripple effect of adding another four or five jobs for everyone outside that sector," Smith said. "So if we see 70 new jobs in the industry then we may say that's a couple hundred more jobs in the community."

Along with new jobs, Smith said comes the need for more training.

"Just stress the fact that we need more and more people thinking about the future, because that's where we're going to live the rest of our lives and we need to make sure we don't ever stop learning," Smith said.

Copyright 2014 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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