Ascension Parish’s Greatest Asset

If there’s one word to describe Ascension Parish’s workforce, it’s “dynamic”.  As displayed in the following tables, Ascension Parish’s workforce has shown dramatic expansion, both in terms of the number of workers as well as across occupational and industry sectors.  From 2006 to 2016, Ascension’s Civilian Labor Force, consisting of the resident populace who are either working or unemployed and actively looking for work, grew by almost 14,000 people (+29.5%).  This rate of growth was 3.5 times that of the State of Louisiana from 2006-2016 and roughly double the rate of growth in the Baton Rouge MSA as a whole (see Tables 1 and 2).


Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment February 2007 - 2017

AreaAscension ParishBaton Rouge MSA*Ascension Parish Region**
Civilian Labor Force

February 2007

47,675360,680365,266

February 2017

61,328417,603414,890

Variance

+13,653+56,923+49,624

% Variance

22.313.611.9
Employment

February 2007

45,823346,457350,637

February 2017

58,613398,396395,178

Variance

+12,790+51,939+44,541

% Variance

21.813.011.3
Unemployment

February 2007 TOTAL

1,85214,22314,629

February 2007 %

3.93.91.7

February 2017 TOTAL

2,71519,20719,712

February 2017 %

4.44.64.8

Variance TOTAL

8634,9845,083

Variance %

.5.73.1

*The Baton Rouge MSA consists of the following nine parishes: Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana.

**The Ascension Parish Region incorporates Ascension Parish and all contiguous Parishes, including Assumption, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston, St. James and St. John Baptist.

Civilian Labor Force: The number of people residing in the specified area who are either working or actively looking for work.  The Civilian Labor Force is the sum of employment and unemployment.

Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission


 

FEB2017

*Ascension Region includes Ascension & the following contiguous parishes:
Assumption, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston, St. James, & St. John

**Baton Rouge MSA: Includes the following nine parishes:
Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Point Coupee, St. Helena,
West Baton Rouge, & West Feliciana

Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission


Another indicator of the labor supply in Ascension is the growth in the parish’s prime working age population.  As shown in Table 3, Ascension added more than  14,700 people to the prime working age population cohort 15 to 54 years of age between 2000 and 2014.   Table 3 further demonstrates that population growth in Ascension took place in every age cohort during this period.  While the median age in Ascension increased from 31.8 to 34.3 from 2000 to 2014, there were more than 86,000 residents in the parish <54 years of age in 2014 compared to 65,000 in the year 2000.


Ascension Parish Population by Age Cohorts
2000-2014

Age CohortTotal 2000 PopulationPercent 2000 PopulationTotal 2014 PopulationPercent 2014 PopulationVariance
2000-14
<56,2588.28,3947.82,136
5-96,4078.48,7048.12,297
10-146,4848.58,6288.02,144
15-196,2138.17,8037.31,590
20-244,9576.56,2245.81,267
25-3411,71515.314,94013.93,225
35-4413,35917.316,34715.22,988
45-549,80412.815,44714.45,643
55-593,3124.36,2415.82,929
60-642,3263.04,9934.72,667
65-743,3844.45,9145.52,530
75-841,9392.52,6922.5753
≥85569.7888.8319
Total Population76,727100107,215100+30,488
Median Age31.8--34.3----
Prime Working Age Group (15-54)46,04860.0%60,76155.7%+14,713

Source: US Census Bureau – American Community Survey


Table 4 shows that in 2014, only 11.3% of Ascension Parish residents had not graduated from high school or received a GED compared to 17.2% of Louisianans and 13.6% on the nation’s population at or above the age of 25.  The percentage of Ascension’s population with at least some college, Associate’s and-or Bachelor’s Degrees closely tracks the national average.  The percentage with graduate or professional degrees is slightly below the national average.  This is likely reflective of the employment mix in Ascension, which is heavily weighted toward technical occupations.  This is demonstrated in Tables 5 and 6, which show the change from 2000 to 2014 in the occupations of persons >16 years of age as well as Employment by Industry.


Ascension Parish Educational Attainment 2014 Percent Population ≥25 Years Old

    
Education LevelAscension ParishLouisianaUSA

<9th Grade

3.86.15.8

9-12, No Diploma

7.511.17.8

High School Grad/GED

35.133.928.0

Some College, No Degree

20.421.421.2

Associate's Degree

7.55.37.9

Bachelor's Degree

18.814.718.3

Graduate or Prof. Degree

7.07.411.0

% High School Graduates

88.782.886.3

% ≥ Bachelor's Degree

25.822.129.3

Source: US Census Bureau – American Community Survey


Ascension Parish Occupations 2000-2014 (Employed Persons ≥16 Years Old)

 Actual Change% Change
Occupation200020142000-20142000-2014

Management, Professional & Related

9,24419,83510,591114.6

Services

4,3928,1353,74385.2

Sales and Office

9,80513,3383,53336.0

Natural Resources, Construction, & Maintenance

5,8106,69588515.2

Production, Transportation and Material Moving

5,9006,2833836.5

Source: US Census Bureau – American Community Survey


Ascension Parish Employment by Industry
2000-2014 (Employed Persons ≥16 Years Old)

 Actual Change% Change
Industry200020142000-20142000-2014

Agriculture, Fishing, Hunting, Forestry & Mining

36763426772.8

Construction

4,6585,8441,18625.5

Manufacturing

6,4097,13272311.3

Wholesale Trade

1,4132,00959642.1

Retail Trade

4,1765,8261,65039.5

Transportation,Warehousing & Utilities

1,8512,68883745.2

Information

65798432749.8

Finance, Insurance & Real Estate

2,1143,1611,04749.5

Professional, Scientific, Management & Administration

2,3425,2342,892123.5

Educational, Healthcare & Social Assistance

5,88111,6375,75697.8

Arts, Entertainment, Recreation, Hospitality & Food Services

2,0613,8951,83488.9

Other Services, Except Public Administration

1,6942,30861436.2

Public Administration

1,5301,5301,40491.8

Source: US Census Bureau – American Community Survey


A prime source of recruitable workers are Ascension residents who out-commute to surrounding parishes to work.  As shown in Table 7, the 2010 Census indicated that approximately 30,660 Ascension- based workers were out-commuters.  In turn, some 17,750 residents of other areas commuted to Ascension to work in 2010.  These data are likely skewed somewhat by the fact that Louisiana’s parishes are relatively small in terms of land area compared to counties in other states.  For example, Ascension Parish’s land area is only about 300 square miles. Proximity is likely the major contributor to commuting patterns in the region as opposed to the distribution of employment per se.


 

commutpat2010
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Table 8 displays the average quarterly weekly wage paid in Ascension Parish over the last ten years of available data.  It should be noted that these are average wages paid by employers in Ascension who are covered by Louisiana’s unemployment compensation system only.


Average Third Quarter Weekly Wages in
Ascension Parish 2006-2016

YearAverage Weekly Wage ($)
2006720
2007769
2008782
2009815
2010885
2011857
2012852
2013889
2014959
20151027
20161021

Average Annual % of Change 2006 – 2016 = 3.8%

*Data represents the average weekly wage paid in the calendar quarter by all employers in Ascension Parish who were covered under Louisiana’s unemployment compensation system.

Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission


Occupational Employment and Wages

Click here to see the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s latest annual report on occupations and prevailing hourly and annual wages in the Baton Rouge Regional Labor Market. More than 500 occupational titles are included!


Workforce Solutions

Louisiana FastStart is a single-source, world class workforce solutions provider that works with qualifying new and expanding enterprises to anticipate and address the company’s workforce needs early in the start-up or expansion process. FastStart’s services are provided at no cost to the employer. This program is available to manufacturing concerns, corporate headquarters, warehouse and distribution, research and development or other strategic facilities that commit to creating at least 15 new jobs or to any service related operation that commits to creating at least 50 new jobs. The FastStart process works as follows:

  • Project Evaluation: Examination of the new or expanding enterprise’s operations and documentation of the required knowledge and skill sets of the new workforce.
  • Workforce Solutions Plan: Development of project lead time schedules and training plans for the specific skill sets needed to staff the new or expanding operation. Consultation with company human resources and training officials regarding appropriate training delivery mechanisms, to include media, classroom and other activities required for a successful launch of operations.
  • Material Development: Develop an instructional system design plan along with both pre- and post-employment classes customized to the new or expanding company’s operations.
  • Pre-Employment Identification: Coordination of testing services, classroom and job simulation exercises to identify the best candidates for potential employment at the new or expanded operation.
  • Course Delivery: Delivery of instructional services wherever and whenever needed to provide the best employees possible for the company’s operation.
  • Evaluation and Feedback: Conduct post-delivery evaluations with the employer in order to ensure continuous improvements in the process.

Incumbent Worker Training Program

The Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWTP) is designed to improve the skill sets of the existing workforce of Louisiana-based employers. There are two distinct IWTP programs:

Small Business Employee Training Program: (SBET) is designed to benefit business and industry by assisting in the skill development of existing employees through individual, standardized (off-the-shelf) training. Employers are reimbursed for tuition and required textbooks and manuals once the training has been completed and proper documentation has been submitted to the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC). Training costs cannot exceed $3,000 per trainee per state fiscal year (July 1-June 30). Funding is provided through the Incumbent Worker Training Account.

Customized Training:  The Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWTP) is a partnership between the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), business and industry, and training providers. The IWTP is designed to benefit business and industry by assisting in the skill development of existing employees and thereby increasing employee productivity and the growth of the company. These improvements are expected to result in the creation of new jobs, the retention of jobs that otherwise may have been eliminated, and an increase in wages for trained workers.