Hitting a near 30-year low in unemployment, St. Charles Parish’s economic indicators are among the strongest in Louisiana.
“We’re fortunate in St. Charles Parish to not only have a large number of jobs, but a large number of high paying jobs,” said Corey Faucheux, the parish’s director of economic development and tourism.
The 2019 unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent or about 1,206 people, Faucheux said. Of this total, sectors with the most unemployed included construction and extraction, 224, followed by transportation and material, 170; production, 156; office and administrative support, 100, and management, 95.
Despite these numbers, the parish’s unemployment rate trended below the state level at 4.6 percent and New Orleans metro area at 4.2 percent for the year.
The parish’s workforce remained high at about 25,099 people in 2019, Faucheux said.
The report also projects parish employment will grow by 114 new jobs in 2020.
In wages, construction is the largest factor in job growth and wages.
“It was just announced that St. Charles Parish has the second highest household income in the state of Louisiana,” Faucheux said. “In fact, it’s about $20,000 more than the state average.”
The parish ranked second with $67,585 compared to top ranking Ascension Parish’s $77,758 in latest available figures from 2018. It was followed by St. Tammany Parish’s $67,054, and Livingston Parish’s $63,088. They all ranked above the U.S. average of $61,937 and Louisiana’s $48,021.
Hourly, construction pay was $19.49 an hour based on 2018 median earnings, ranking among the highest in wages in the parish. Other high payers by the hour included management at $40.55; production occupations, $27.15; business and financial operations occupations, $25.86, and installation, maintenance and repair occupations, $13.93.
Faucheux said the parish’s housing market was also a strong economic indicator in 2019.
In 2018, the parish’s residential building permits hit a record 167. House prices grew by 8.8 percent averaging $248,000. Properties averaged 49 days on market with 48 houses sold.
“The local housing market is a strong sign of the health of the local economy,” he said.
The parish’s taxable income, another strong indicator of a healthy economy, is projected to reach $1.8 billion in 2019, Faucheux said.
“Business and industry make up the lion’s share of this number,” he said. ‘This means more sales, more jobs and more high paying jobs. This leads to strong GDP growth.”
Additionally, the parish ranked second in GDP growth at 22 percent for 2018, substantially higher than state GDP at 7.6 percent. It was only higher in Red River at 37.4 percent.