BLS Information

Labor Market Statistics Prior to Disaster for Areas Affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Hurricane Katrina struck the Louisiana coast on August 29 and resulted in a tragic loss of life and significant disruptions of local economies in three States. On September 24, less than a month later, Hurricane Rita landed on the border between Texas and Louisiana. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) produces a wide range of labor market data that may be used in evaluation of the scale of the storms' economic disruption. The facts and figures here are meant to establish conditions in the most affected local labor markets as they were before the hurricanes struck and do not reflect any impacts from the hurricanes. The two events are being considered together because they were closely linked in time, affected geographically contiguous areas, and had a cumulative economic impact.

As the analyses on this page are based on August 2005 data for regions, States, and metropolitan areas, they do not reflect the impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For information on how Hurricane Katrina affected BLS data collection and estimation processes, see Effects of Hurricane Katrina on BLS Employment and Unemployment Data Collection and Estimation. For information on post-hurricane employment and unemployment in the areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, see Labor Market Statistics for Areas Affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: September and October 2005.

Please note: (1) An earlier version of this webpage with Katrina-only data is available at http://www.bls.gov/katrina/data_archived.htm. (2) The analysis of statistics from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) on this page was performed with preliminary 2004 data. After the analysis was completed and posted, revised 2004 data were released; revised QCEW data for 2004 for the U.S., States, metropolitan areas, and counties can be accessed using these data tools: http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/outside.jsp?survey=en (requires Java-enabled browser) or http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/dsrv?en.

Establishments, employment, and total wages, annual average data (2004)

One labor market baseline is the number of business establishments, their total employment, and the wages they paid to their workers in 2004, the most recent year for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics has complete data.

Table 1. 2004 annual average establishments, employment, and total wages in the 100 counties and parishes most affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
"Most-affected" areas in State Establishments
Number As a percentage of state total As a percentage of US total

Alabama

20,787 18.2% 0.2%

Louisiana

85,034 73.2% 1.0%

Mississippi

41,941 63.3% 0.5%

Texas

15,480 3.0% 0.2%

TOTAL

163,242 1.9%
"Most-affected" areas in State Employment
Number As a percentage of state total As a percentage of US total

Alabama

323,788 17.5% 0.3%

Louisiana

1,408,529 75.5% 1.1%

Mississippi

729,466 66.0% 0.6%

Texas

276,891 3.0% 0.2%

TOTAL

2,738,674 2.1%
"Most-affected" areas in State Wages
Dollars As a percentage of state total As a percentage of US total

Alabama

10,041,866,263 16.2% 0.2%

Louisiana

46,385,949,440 78.1% 0.9%

Mississippi

21,287,302,242 67.5% 0.4%

Texas

9,357,161,386 2.6% 0.2%

TOTAL

87,072,279,331 1.7%

Note: These data represent the 10 counties in Alabama, 34 parishes in Louisiana, 47 counties in Mississippi, and 9 counties in Texas that were designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for both individual and public disaster assistance as of September 30, 2005.

Source: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

Table 2. Establishments by industry in the 100 counties and parishes most affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 2004 annual average
Ownership and industry Establishments
Number As a percentage of US total

TOTAL

163,242 1.9%

Private, Total

155,777 1.9%

Natural Resources and Mining

3,844 3.1%

Construction

14,367 1.8%

Manufacturing

6,444 1.7%

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

42,203 2.3%

Information

2,343 1.6%

Financial Activities

17,543 2.2%

Professional and Business Services

23,956 1.8%

Education and Health Services

15,416 2.1%

Leisure and Hospitality

13,774 2.0%

Other Services

15,157 1.4%

Unclassified

843 0.5%

Federal Government, Total

1,539 3.0%

State Government, Total

1,928 3.0%

Local Government, Total

4,011 2.6%

Note: These data represent the 10 counties in Alabama, 34 parishes in Louisiana, 47 counties in Mississippi, and 9 counties in Texas that were designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for both individual and public disaster assistance as of September 30, 2005.

As shown in the table 1, there were roughly 163,000 establishments in the areas most affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita — those requiring Federal relief to individuals as well as to State and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations. These establishments employed some 2.7 million workers and paid them approximately $87 billion in wages in the fourth quarter of 2004. These areas accounted for 1.9 percent of all establishments in the United States and for substantially larger shares of the national total of establishments in the natural resources and mining (3.1 percent) industry and Federal and State government (3.0 percent each). (See table 2.)

Table 3. 2004 annual average establishments, employment, and wages in all 433 counties and parishes affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
All affected areas in State Establishments
Number As a percentage of state total As a percentage of US total

Alabama

47,700 41.7% 0.6%

Florida

177,249 33.8% 2.1%

Louisiana

116,096 100.0% 1.4%

Mississippi

66,237 100.0% 0.8%

Texas

512,574 100.0% 6.1%

TOTAL

919,856 11.0%
All affected areas in State Employment
Number As a percentage of state total As a percentage of US total

Alabama

819,901 44.3% 0.6%

Florida

2,154,906 28.9% 1.7%

Louisiana

1,866,499 100.0% 1.4%

Mississippi

1,105,763 100.0% 0.9%

Texas

9,322,008 100.0% 7.2%

TOTAL

15,269,077 11.8%
All affected areas in State Wages
Dollars As a percentage of state total As a percentage of US total

Alabama

28,292,015,615 45.7% 0.6%

Florida

79,439,521,724 30.3% 1.6%

Louisiana

59,424,097,229 100.0% 1.2%

Mississippi

31,548,214,635 100.0% 0.6%

Texas

359,091,992,699 100.0% 7.1%

TOTAL

557,795,841,902 11.0%

Note: These data represent the 22 counties in Alabama, 11 counties in Florida, 64 parishes in Louisiana, 82 counties in Mississippi, and 254 counties in Texas that were designated by FEMA to receive any form of federal disaster assistance (individual or public assistance or both) as of September 30, 2005.

Source: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

The areas that were designated to receive any form of federal disaster assistance had a total of about 15.3 million jobs in more than 900,000 establishments. (See table 3.) Employment in natural resources and mining in all the affected areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas accounted for 18.9 percent of the industry's national total. (See table 4. Note that all the counties in Texas were designated as impacted by Hurricane Rita.)

Table 4. Establishments, employment, and wages by industry in all 433 counties and parishes affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 2004 annual averages
Ownership and industry Establishments Employment Wages
Number As a percentage of US total Number As a percentage of US total Dollars As a percentage of US total

TOTAL

919,856 11.0% 15,269,077 11.8% 557,795,841,902 11.0%

Private, Total

891,765 11.0% 12,576,280 11.6% 461,560,364,321 10.9%

Natural Resources and Mining

22,851 18.6% 317,674 18.9% 18,864,362,516 31.2%

Construction

77,563 9.5% 890,963 12.9% 33,001,017,934 11.8%

Manufacturing

38,425 10.4% 1,418,918 10.0% 66,999,052,681 9.8%

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

228,773 12.3% 3,185,702 12.6% 109,161,921,802 12.6%

Information

16,102 11.3% D D

Financial Activities

98,097 12.5% 936,092 11.9% 45,618,386,981 9.4%

Professional and Business Services

151,447 11.3% 1,736,458 10.7% 73,937,268,819 9.6%

Education and Health Services

87,873 11.8% 1,745,730 10.9% 60,061,254,172 10.2%

Leisure and Hospitality

73,243 10.8% 1,530,850 12.3% 24,097,275,724 11.6%

Other Services

87,090 8.1% D D

Unclassified

10,341 6.0% 20,175 7.8% 704,593,399 7.4%

Federal Government, Total

5,834 11.2% 302,803 11.1% 16,563,976,222 10.5%

State Government, Total

6,828 10.6% 568,438 12.7% 20,052,123,962 10.9%

Local Government, Total

15,435 10.0% 1,821,560 13.4% 59,619,377,397 11.9%

D = Data do not meet BLS disclosure standards.

Note: These data represent the 22 counties in Alabama, 11 counties in Florida, 64 parishes in Louisiana, 82 counties in Mississippi, and 254 counties in Texas that were designated by FEMA to receive any form of federal disaster assistance (individual or public assistance or both) as of September 30, 2005.

Individual county and State annual average establishment, employment, and wage data by industry for 2004 are available from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program:
Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas (Zipped XLS spreadsheet files).

Labor force and unemployment, August 2005 (revised, not seasonally adjusted)

In August 2005, the areas most affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had a labor force of about 3.3 million workers, of whom 194,000 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for these combined areas was 6.0 percent, 1.1 percentage point higher than the rate for the U.S. as a whole. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.)

Table 5. August 2005 labor force, employment, and unemployment, revised, not seasonally adjusted, in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas (rates in percent), entire State and most affected areas in State
State or area Labor force Employment Unemployment level Unemployment rate
Entire State

Alabama

2,155,745 2,065,528 90,217 4.2

Florida

8,760,678 8,425,427 335,251 3.8

Louisiana

2,134,410 2,006,075 128,335 6.0

Mississippi

1,348,337 1,253,468 94,869 7.0

Texas

11,259,471 10,679,422 580,049 5.2

TOTAL

25,658,641 24,429,920 1,228,721 4.8

Most affected areas* in State

Alabama

392,042 375,251 16,791 4.3

Louisiana

1,565,638 1,474,668 90,970 5.8

Mississippi

904,260 843,575 60,685 6.7

Texas

395,282 369,241 26,041 6.6

TOTAL

3,257,222 3,062,735 194,487 6.0

* Note: These data represent the 10 counties in Alabama, 34 parishes in Louisiana, 47 counties in Mississippi, and 9 counties in Texas that were designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for both individual and public disaster assistance as of September 30, 2005.

Source: Local Area Unemployment Statistics

Unemployment rates in Mississippi and Louisiana were somewhat above the national average of 4.9 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in August 2005. Only a handful of parishes in Louisiana had an unemployment rate below 5.0 percent, and more than 20 had rates of 7.0 percent or more. The overall unemployment rate in Louisiana was 6.0 percent in August. In Mississippi, one county did have an unemployment rate under 4.0 percent, but, again, many had rates of 7.0 percent or more, and only one county in the hard-hit southern half of the State had an unemployment rate under 5.0 percent. Mississippi's overall August unemployment rate was 7.0 percent.

In contrast, the unemployment rate was below the national average in Alabama in August 2005. However, five of the ten more heavily affected counties in Alabama had unemployment rates of 6.0 percent or higher.

In Texas, the unemployment rate, at 5.2 percent, was close to the national average in August. However, 7 of the 9 most affected counties in Texas had unemployment rates higher than 6.0 percent. The unemployment rate in Florida was 3.8 percent in August 2005. Data on unemployment and the labor force for States, metropolitan areas, and counties are available online.

State and individual county labor force and unemployment data tables from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program:
Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas (PDF files).

County unemployment rate maps from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program:
Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas (PDF files).

Data for September 2005 for areas affected by Katrina and Rita can be found at http://www.bls.gov/katrina/data_after.htm. Those data and the August data presented on this page are not seasonally adjusted; therefore, over-the-month comparisons are discouraged.

Business establishments in the paths of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Katrina came ashore shortly after 6:00 a.m. on August 29, 2005, in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, just south of Buras and southeast of New Orleans. At landfall her winds were 140 miles per hour. Continuing northward, the hurricane made a second landfall near the Louisiana-Mississippi State line at 10:00 a.m. with maximum winds near 125 m.p.h. Katrina weakened as it moved inland to the north-northeast but was still a hurricane 100 miles inland near Laurel, Mississippi.

Approximately 38 percent of business establishments in the combined area of Louisiana and Mississippi were within 100 miles of the path of the center of the storm. Approximately 66 percent of establishments in this area were within 200 miles. See map Locations of Business Establishments Relative to the Path of Hurricane Katrina (PDF).

Rita made landfall just east of the Sabine Pass near the Texas-Louisiana border in the early morning hours of September 24 with maximum winds over 105 miles per hour, but weakened relatively quickly as it moved inland. However, forecasts of very heavy rains after the winds subsided proved correct and substantial rainfall caused flooding in parts of Texas and Louisiana (including renewed flooding in New Orleans).

Approximately 7 percent of business establishments in the combined areas of Texas and Louisiana were within 100 miles of the track of the eye of Hurricane Rita and about 27 percent were within 200 miles. See map Business Establishments within Rita-Damaged Areas (PDF).

Establishments in areas flooded and damaged by Katrina

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has released an imagery-derived assessment of the zones in Louisiana and Mississippi damaged by high winds and floodwaters resulting from Hurricane Katrina. As represented on the map, Business Establishments within Katrina-Damaged Areas as Identified by FEMA (PDF), there were just over 22,000 business establishments in areas of Louisiana and Mississippi that FEMA designated as flooded or damaged areas or both.

In some ways, the Katrina story was one of two very different States. In Louisiana, by far the greatest number of establishments within these zones were in flooded areas; the roughly 18,000 establishments in flooded areas employed over 300,000 workers in 2004. These workers accounted for nearly 97 percent of jobs within the FEMA-designated flood and damage zones in Louisiana.

In Mississippi, the circumstances were almost exactly reversed. Only about 1 percent of jobs in the flooded or damaged zones of Mississippi were in flooded areas, while fully 64 percent were in areas that suffered "catastrophic" storm damage, the most severe of the four categories used by FEMA. (See table 6 and the explanation of the four storm damage categories.)

Hurricane Rita was a much less destructive storm. About 800 establishments were in damaged and flooded areas, mostly in and around Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, and Lake Charles Louisiana.

Table 6. Establishments, Employment, and Quarterly Wages within Katrina-Damaged Areas as Defined by FEMA
Damage Type ALABAMA (Q:IV 2004)
Establish-
ments
Employ-
ment
Quarterly
Wages

Flooded Area

3 51 $726,121

Non-flooded area:

Limited Damage

91 1,710 $16,031,446

Moderate Damage

17 389 $3,145,097

Extensive Damage

0 0 $0

Catastrophic Damage

0 0 $0

TOTAL

111 2,150 $19,902,664
Damage Type LOUISIANA (Q:IV 2004)
Establish-
ments
Employ-
ment
Quarterly
Wages

Flooded Area

18,078 305,340 $2,966,338,291

Non-flooded area:

Limited Damage

681 7,731 $59,505,161

Moderate Damage

140 2,055 $12,701,137

Extensive Damage

45 577 $3,717,779

Catastrophic Damage

53 360 $4,880,302

TOTAL

18,997 316,063 $3,047,142,670
Damage Type MISSISSIPPI (Q:IV 2004)
Establish-
ments
Employ-
ment
Quarterly
Wages

Flooded Area

71 564 $4,501,983

Non-flooded area:

Limited Damage

994 10,898 $110,951,079

Moderate Damage

586 6,075 $41,556,049

Extensive Damage

119 2,206 $14,676,217

Catastrophic Damage

1,582 35,338 $247,454,539

TOTAL

3,352 55,081 $419,139,867
Explanation of FEMA Storm Damage Categories
  • Limited Damage: Generally superficial damage to solid structures (e.g. loss of tiles or roof shingles); some mobile homes and light structures are damaged or displaced.
  • Moderate Damage: Solid structures sustain exterior damage (e.g. missing roofs or roof segments); some mobile homes and light structures are destroyed, many are damaged or displaced.
  • Extensive Damage: Some solid structures are destroyed; most sustain exterior and interior damage (e.g. roofs are missing, interior walls exposed), most mobile homes and light structures are destroyed.
  • Catastrophic Damage: Most solid and all light or mobile structures are destroyed.

Note: Zones that were both flooded and storm-damaged were categorized in the "flooded area" designation. The Katrina-damaged areas are identified at very fine levels of geographic detail. They are distinct from the county level areas designated by FEMA as being eligible for disaster relief in that they have been identified as being within damage zones.

Links to additional labor market data

The most recent labor market data available for the affected States and selected metropolitan areas can be found on the following Economy at a Glance pages:

Unemployment rates by county for August 2005 (maps and tables) also are available:

Additional data can be obtained through the following BLS program homepages:

and BLS regional office pages:

Affected area definitions

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused physical and economic disruption over many areas spanning five States. In response, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated a number of counties and parishes to receive public assistance to State and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for purposes such as debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. A smaller number of counties were also designated for individual assistance to persons and households for housing, medical, dental, funeral, and transportation expenses related to the disaster.

The areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in BLS calculations were established by referring to the designated counties notices issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through September 30, 2005. (See www.fema.gov/news/disasters.fema.)

An area was considered "affected" if it was designated by FEMA for any type of assistance. An area was defined as "most affected" if it was designated for both individual and public assistance. The following list shows all 433 affected counties or parishes; the 100 "most affected" counties or parishes are marked with an asterisk.

Alabama

Florida

Louisiana

Mississippi

Texas

Hurricane Information | Employment and Unemployment Data Collection and Estimation

Last Modified Date: January 27, 2006

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