BRAC Releases COVID-19 Economic Indicator Dashboard for Capital Region

Retail vehicle fuel sales rebound to 2019 levels; unemployment static

Baton Rouge, La. (August 11, 2020) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today released its COVID-19 economic indicator dashboard that examines and assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the regional economy. The dashboard is available online at

“While a number of indicators, such as retail vehicle fuel sales, hotel occupancy, and unemployment claims held steady or showed slight improvement, it remains clear that entire sectors of the economy remain limited,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior director of business intelligence for BRAC. “Having 2,000 fewer unemployment claims is good news, but there are still more than 55,000 adults filing claims every week. With the uncertainty regarding reopening, it is crucial that training opportunities be provided in high-demand occupations for this part of the workforce, especially with federal unemployment aid in flux.”

With the federal unemployment enhancement ending last week, next week’s dashboard may be an early indicator of the extent to which the supplement discouraged employment. Unemployment claims have been relatively static since the beginning of Phase Two.

Key findings from this week’s dashboard include: 

  • Consumer spending was notably down in East Baton Rouge after the state re-closed select businesses, even before federal unemployment benefits lapsed; 
  • Over the same time period, East Baton Rouge, Ascension, and Livingston all saw a sharp drop in small businesses open;
  • Retail vehicle fuel sales in the Capital Region rose for the second consecutive week, and were on par with the same week in 2019;
  • Retail and recreation mobility increased over the week, as did travel to parks;
  • Total unemployment claims in the Capital Region are down slightly over the week, but appear to have essentially plateaued; and
  • Similarly, hotel occupancy remained at 50% last week – a rate above most COVID weeks, but below the same time last year.

The dashboard looks at a number of data points to illustrate the economy’s current state. With data from a number of regional stakeholders, the dashboard is the most real-time analysis of the Baton Rouge metro economy available. 

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

BRAC is regularly updating with business resources and guidance related to COVID-19. 

About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber 

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,400 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at


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