The Ouachita Parish area economy has moved from one of dependency on
the agriculture and wood/timber industries to one of strength and
diversity. Over the last several decades, as the population and needs
of the people grew, so did the industrial base. Several new primary
industries including paper and pulp, plastics, insurance,
telecommunications and medical services, now provide a broad base for
the local economy and surrounding region.
Of major significance to the growth of the economy was the location
of the State Farm Mid-South Regional Headquarters in the late 1960's,
which currently employees nearly 1,100 persons in a new 100,000 square
foot facility in Monroe.
CenturyTel, a leading telecommunications firm headquartered in
Monroe, grew from a small family-owned business providing local
telephone service in rural North Louisiana to a major employer both in
and outside of the state. (6,000 employees in 6 states)
These and related companies have resulted in a more diversified economy and a higher skilled work force.
The civilian labor force
has grown 12.3 percent over the last decade to and the 8-parish region
provides a total of nearly 151,000. Within the parish, the unemployment
rate has decreased with the growth of the economy, however, the average
for 2000 was 4.3 percent, up from 1999's 3.9 percent.