Baton Rouge leisure and hospitality sector show signs of bouncing back

Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber today released its monthly COVID-19 economic indicators report, which assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the regional economy. This month’s report shows strong job growth in the leisure and hospitality sector. 

“Strong spending and travel numbers despite stagnant unemployment continue to highlight the asymmetry of the post-pandemic recovery,” says Andrew Fitzgerald, senior vice president of business intelligence at BRAC, in a prepared. “May saw the fourth most job postings for the Capital Region for any month on record. Persistent demand for labor, as well as the continued enhanced unemployment benefits, have strengthened consumer confidence despite low job numbers. We anticipate those job counts will catch up to the rest of the economy as unemployment payments return to normal and the industrial construction market picks back up.”  

Most industries showed flat growth over the month, but the battered leisure and hospitality sector added 800 jobs, a promising sign that other sectors may soon follow. While weekly unemployment claims have remained flat, there are over 30,000 regional job openings with a median posted wage rate of $22 an hour. 

Key findings from this month’s dashboard include: 

• Jobs fell by 1,400 from April to May, with construction (-900) and professional services (-500) hit the hardest. Upside: leisure and hospitality added 800 jobs;

• After consecutive months of job losses, Baton Rouge remains significantly behind its peer metros in job recovery, with the region 23,000 below its job count from the month the pandemic shut down the economy;

• Weekly unemployment claims remained flat throughout June, with approximately 10,000 total claims each week since the end of May;

• Consumer spending is consistently above pre-pandemic numbers in the Capital Region’s three largest parishes, and hotel occupancy continues to be strong, showing that there is still high confidence in the economy. 

To download this month’s indicator dashboard directly, click here.

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