Area projected to see job gains

09 22, 2013 by Houma Courier

Lafourche, Terrebonne and Assumption parishes are projected to see steady increases in the number of jobs available through this decade, according to figures released last week by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Increases in all oil and gas support services and construction jobs are projected to continue through 2020, the Workforce Commission says.

Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink addressed the South Central Industrial Association earlier this year and gave a positive outlook for Louisiana if the state can find a way to educate enough workers.

“We are seeing today a business climate in Louisiana that I have not seen in my 30-plus years. We are seeing investment from outside the state in Louisiana that we have never seen before,” Eysink said.

The commission's statistics project that through 2014 employment is set to increase by about 8 percent from its 2011 levels. The average employment in 2011 was 103,077 and is projected to push past 111,000 through 2014, according to commission data.

More long-term, the area is looking at nearly a 20 percent increase in total employment through 2020, according to the projections.

Sign after sign down U.S. 90 promises high wages and attractive benefits on the water. Marine-related jobs are projected to be among the best paying and most available this decade.

Captains, mates and boat pilots are projected to have the most annual openings in the three parishes through 2020. The forecast is for an average of 260 openings for those jobs, considering growth and regular turnover such as retirements. This category of jobs averaged $77,000 in annual earnings in 2011.

Sailors and marine oilers are projected to have about 170 openings per year. People in these jobs earned about $42,000 annually in 2011. The commission also projects the area will need 50 ship engineers annually over the coming years. That position earned an average of $77,000 in 2011.

Over this decade, water transportation is expected to add a total of 2,500 jobs, bringing total employment in the sector above 6,000 workers.

The demand is already in place.

Earlier this month, Lonnie Grabert, spokesman for Cut Off-based Edison Chouest Offshore, noted his company is hiring and has held recent job fairs.

Overall, oil and gas supporting services are poised for the most growth through 2020. The support of gas extraction, including everything from deckhand spots to technology development, will increase by some 20 percent through 2014 compared to 2011's average employment. Currently about 4,500 people work in the sector, which will add 1,655 jobs through 2020.

More than 1,100 heavy and civil engineering construction jobs will be added through the decade, the commission projects. About 150 positions as a welders, cutters, solderers and brazers are projected to be avaialble annually. These positions pay on average $40,000 each year.

Machinists, construction equipment operators, laborers and riggers are also among the most available positions.

Manufacturing jobs are set to increase by more than 32 percent in Assumption, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes through the decade.

The manufacturing of transportation equipment is projected to see more than 1,100 jobs in the coming decade, bringing the total industry footprint to nearly 4,500 in 2020. Machinery manufacturing is also poised to grow by 1,300 jobs through the decade.

The commission projects an addition of 1,500 administrative positions over the decade. There are projected to be 40 new general and operation manager positions available annually each year. Those positions averaged $106,000 in annual earnings in 2011.