Louisiana ranked No. 34 in the nation for average weekly wages during the first quarter this year and wages remain lower than the national average, the most recent federal data shows.
The average weekly wage across the U.S. is $1,184 compared to $954 per week in Louisiana. Wage growth across the state in the past year was 2.5%, compared to 2.8% as the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' quarterly census of employment and wages program.
Workers in more populated parishes, such as East Baton Rouge, Orleans and Calcasieu, earned between $1,007 and $1,064 each week, but pay did not increase as much as nationally except in Calcasieu.
In East Baton Rouge Parish wages increased about 2.2% over the past year through the first quarter to $1,050 per week. In Ascension workers earned $1,151; East Feliciana, $862; Iberville, $1,440; Livingston, $732; Pointe Coupee, $911; St. Helena, $711; West Baton Rouge, $1,127; and West Feliciana, $1,419.
In Orleans Parish, wages grew by less than 1% in the past year through the first quarter to $1,064 per week. In Jefferson workers earned $960; Plaquemines, $1,450; St. Bernard, $1,043; St. Charles, $1,525; St. John the Baptist, $1,118; and St. Tammany, $921.
In Lafayette Parish, workers earned on average $914 per week and wages grew 2.8% over the past year through the first quarter. In Acadia, workers earned an average $682; Iberia, $925; St. Martin, $822; Vermilion, $747; and St. Landry, $698.
The fastest-growing wage growth in the state was in Calcasieu, with 5.1% over the past year, likely due to an influx of jobs connected to industrial plants around Lake Charles.
Workers with the highest wages in the state are in Cameron Parish, where employers pay on average $1,900 per week. That's nearly on par with the District of Columbia, where the best-paid workers in the country earn about $1,921 each week on average.
St. James Parish workers earned $1,575 per week, the second-highest wages on average.
Both of these parishes are more sparsely populated but St. James Parish has nearly a dozen industrial plants and Cameron Parish has liquefied natural gas export facilities.
The majority of companies in Louisiana have fewer than 20 employees and there are only 62 businesses operating in the state with more than 1,000 workers. Companies with at least 500 employees but fewer than 1,000 workers reported paying $1,614 per week, the highest weekly wage in the state when ranked by business size.
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