Getting a Clearer Picture of Indirect Jobs

Sep 16, 2015

Pushing forward in his Presidential campaign, Governor Bobby Jindal is touting the number of jobs created under his leadership. "In Louisiana," he says, "we’ve got $60 billion of projects coming into our state, over 90,000 jobs." 

Three categories of jobs make up that figure: construction jobs, permanent jobs and indirect jobs. More than two thirds of the total quoted by Jindal are made up of construction and indirect jobs.

Obviously construction jobs are temporary, and end as soon as the facility is ready. But what are all these indirect jobs? 

Mike Olivier was Governor Blanco’s Secretary of Economic Development. "You have a multitude of very small companies who provide services to all kinds of companies, from banks to law firms to manufacturing plants. Traditionally, we use to think of it as office supply, janitorial services," he explains. 

But that doesn't necessarily create forty hours of work per week for an employee. "That indirect job may also do other things at other operations that constitute their forty hour work week," says Olivier. 

In other words, it could take multiple projects before a worker has the equivalent of full-time employment. "That person who is working in that service company," says Olivier, "may not only be serving that one facility, but a multitude of facilities."

For the most part, each new project or expansion in Louisiana is credited with creating more indirect jobs than direct, full-time employment.

For example, an ammonia plant coming into a vacant facility in Grant Parish is credited with creating 560 construction jobs, 584 indirect jobs, but only 85 direct jobs.

Direct jobs, Olivier explains, "are those jobs specific to the project; people who are directly employed at the operation."

Although the plant won’t open before October 2018, the state is giving the company Industrial and Workforce tax exemptions.

Back on the campaign trail, Jindal says "we have more people working in Louisiana than ever before, earning a higher income than ever before." Louisiana’s latest official unemployment rate: 6.2 percent, the eighth highest in the nation.