© Copyright 2007 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning


Vol. 44 No. 8

Recovery After Hurricane Katrina: Employment in the Gulf Coast Area

excerpted from: http://www.bls.gov/opub/ils/pdf/opbils57.pdf

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States, causing tragic loss of life and catastrophic damage in local communities. The destruction of property and infrastructure resulted in large numbers of workers and their families being displaced. The devastating impact of this storm still resonates in the nation; however, substantial recovery in employment was evident by third quarter 2006 in many of the areas most heavily affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The effects of this storm on employment totals in the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) were first apparent in data for September 2005. In the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Katrina caused the most extensive job losses in two large parishes in Louisiana—Jefferson and Orleans— and one large county in Mississippi— Harrison. In addition to these areas, three parishes and two counties also suffered significant employment losses as a result of the storm: Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany parishes in Louisiana, and Hancock and Jackson counties in Mississippi. These eight areas were heavily affected by Hurricane Katrina and sustained the largest job losses within the Gulf Coast region. The destruction from high winds, storm surges, and flooding contributed to their combined loss of 127,900 jobs between August 2005 and August 2006. One year after the storm, the combined employment level in these eight communities recovered to 82 percent of the pre-Katrina level (see Figure).

These data were obtained by the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data presented here are for all workers covered by State and Federal unemployment insurance programs. Large counties or parishes refer to those with employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2005. Additional charts are available online at www.bls.gov/katrina/smallareas.pdf.

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