5 years after Katrina, Gulf Coast employment still lags

LONG BEACH, Miss. — Post-Katrina employment along the Gulf Coast had not fully recovered before the recession of 2008 and is still lagging five years after the storm devastated the Mississippi coast, according to a recently published study from two professors at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast.

David Butler, director and associate professor of the International Development doctoral program, and Edward Sayre, the program's assistant director and associate professor, collected U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics from January 2001 through December 2009 to determine the economic impact of the hurricane on employment in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties in Mississippi.

They found employment levels in the region were seven percent lower in December 2009 than they were prior to the storm in August 2005.

“For the Gulf Coast, this has been a rolling disaster,” Butler said in a university press release. “First there was Hurricane Katrina, then the recession of 2008, and now the oil spill of 2010. “It has been difficult for many coastal residents to regain their footing in the last five years.”

The study focused primarily on jobs in the service sector, which has about two-thirds of all the jobs in the coastal counties, Sayre said.

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