The United States Department of Labor released last year's unemployment rate averages that show a .9% increase in Louisiana's unemployment rates compared to 2009. Last year's average unemployment rate in Louisiana landed at 7.5%, which left thousands of unemployed in Northwest Louisiana looking for a steady income.
Even though the unemployment rate rose, area companies posted 27% more jobs last year than in 2009. Jacques Lasseigne, of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, told us that companies are hiring and looking to fill a few more openings than the previous year, which is a good sign for the area. Those job openings include everything from truck drivers to office workers to teaching positions.
Claude L. Williams, who is currently unemployed and looking for a regular job, went into the Caddo Career Solutions Center on Monday to reactivate his resume online. "I had put in success in the past with it," said Williams. "I'm looking right now to open it up again, apply for unemployment benefits because I'm out of a job, and I'll see if I can get some hits." Tyrone Benjamin, also unemployed and looking for a steady income, told us that he often goes into the Caddo Career Solutions Center hoping to find a full-time job in the area.
People across Northwest Louisiana use resources through the Louisiana Workforce Commission and Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana to help find jobs that work well with the skills that they already have. Some job seekers that are looking for help are people who were laid off from jobs that they had for many years, so many of them do not know where to turn to find a job that fits them.
Romney Guy, of Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana, told us that since the downturn of the economy, many people that used to shop in their stores and help fund the company's programs are now some of the people walking through their doors looking for jobs.
The region's unemployment rate dropped back down to 6.6% in the last month, but it still leaves many people searching for a place to earn that reliable paycheck. Both Williams and Benjamin seem optimistic about their chances of finding a job soon as they each told us that they hope to find jobs within a week.