Parish wages among state's best in first quarter
St. Mary was ranked one of the state’s 10 highest paying parishes on an average weekly basis in the first quarter of 2011.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average earnings in St. Mary Parish are $913 per week.
According to March employment figures, the parish employed 26,294 during the first quarter.
The parish joins Plaquemines, Orleans, St. John the Baptist, St. James, St. Charles, Iberville, West Feliciana, Cameron and De Soto parishes as those whose wages are at least $900 per week.
St. Mary Parish Economic Development Director Frank Fink attributed the higher wages to a heavy emphasis on the oil and gas and service industries and shipbuilding industries as well as chemical industries in western St. Mary.
“Basically, we’re heavily into oil and gas and services industry, which tend to pay higher,” Fink said.
He cited InterMoor, Oceaneering and Cameron among examples of employers in the parish who help the parish remain among the state’s highest in weekly wage earning.
“These are core businesses,” Fink said.
He said the parish’s weekly salaries are boosted by the fact that it does not have a lot of retail, a large medical complex or a big university, which he said pay less than oil and gas service, shipbuilding and chemical industries and would lower the weekly earnings.
Fink said it is possible that the sugarcane industry could have hurt St. Mary in its first quarter earnings, too, because production already had been complete by then.
St. James had the highest weekly wages in the state at $1,179, while Madison reported the lowest weekly wage at $484.
Statewide, the average weekly salary was $798, while the national was $935.
Residents in St. Martin ($634), Iberia ($820), Assumption ($828) and Terrebonne ($848) parishes all made less average weekly wages that those in St. Mary Parish, according to the statistics released Friday.
March employment figures in St. Martin were 11,704. Other parish employment figures during the same period were: Iberia (30,982), Assumption (4,417) and Terrebonne (52,695).
From the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011, the statewide wage gain was 4.5 percent, while the national gain was 5.2 percent.
All but six of Louisiana’s parishes had wages below the national average. The six above-average parishes were Iberville ($1,155), Orleans ($983), Plaquemines ($1,153), St. Charles ($1,174), St. James ($1,179) and West Feliciana $1,002).
These figures and more information is available at www.bls.gov/ro6/fax/qcew_la.htm.