Southeast Louisiana has seen a surge in new jobless claims after Hurricane Ida devastated the region, according to data from the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
The state recorded more than 9,000 initial jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 4, an increase of more than 471% from the previous week, according to LWC data. The New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Houma-Thibodaux regions accounted for more than 92% of new jobless claims across the state.
All three regions were hardest hit by Hurricane Ida, which made landfall near Port Fourchon as a powerful Category 4 storm on August 29, bringing heavy rains and high winds across the region.
The state had just over 1,500 new claims for the week before Hurricane Ida.
The New Orleans area recorded nearly 5,500 new jobless claims for the week ending September 4, an increase of 1,238% – or nearly 5,100 – from 410 the previous week.
The Houma-Thibodaux region recorded nearly 1,400 new jobless claims after Hurricane Ida, an increase of nearly 1,900%, or 1,300, from 70 the previous week.
The Baton Rouge region registered 1,300 new jobless claims for the week of September 4, up more than 242%, or more than 900, from 377 the previous week.
The Acadiana area saw a slight increase in new jobless claims, from almost 25% from 198 to 247. Unemployment claims in the Lake Charles area were about the same as the week before, and the three other regions – Alexandria, Shreveport and Monroe – have seen new claims fall.
In terms of industries, initial claims have increased in all areas. The largest increases were recorded in other services and management of businesses and enterprises, which each increased by more than 1,000%.
Five other industries – accommodation and food services; agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; arts, entertainment and recreation; educational services; and health care and social assistance – each has seen initial jobless claims rise by more than 500%.
While jobless claims have increased across the region, it is unclear which companies have laid off or put workers on leave in the wake of the storm. According to the LWC, no Wage Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice has been filed with the state. Under federal law, companies must file notices with the state if they plan to lay off a certain percentage of their workforce.