Weekly unemployment claims down for eighth consecutive week
Baton Rouge, La. (September 22, 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 brac.org/recovery.
Starting today, BRAC will once a month include monthly jobs and unemployment data that looks at level of recovery by industry, comparison to peer metros, and unemployment by parish within the Capital Region.
“While the region continues to see steady improvement in regards to lower unemployment than the national average and higher hotel occupancy than last year, our recovery lags that of peer metro areas,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior director of business intelligence for BRAC. “Tight restrictions on restaurants and bars have led to sustained closures and layoffs, and delays with industrial expansions have created a sustained dip in construction employment. As construction was our only major job growth industry over the last few years, this data highlights the need for diversification in industry and job growth for the Capital Region.”
Key findings from this week’s dashboard include:
- Even with 15,500 jobs regained since April, job loss in the region is still significantly higher than the height of the Great Recession. The Capital Region jobs are 9.5% lower, compared to 6.2% lower in early 2010;
- Baton Rouge has not seen the jobs recovery that it peer metros have – while we’re still nearly 10% off our pre-pandemic job count, they are all within 4-6%;
- This lag is due to the continued restrictions keeping Leisure & Hospitality jobs down 27% from pre-pandemic levels, and construction jobs down 19% due to delays in industrial expansions and fewer contractors allowed within the fence-line at facilities;
- Weekly unemployment claims continued to fall for the eight consecutive week, and are down 30% within that timeframe;
- Hotel occupancy rates stayed strong at more than 50% higher than a similar week in 2019, due to the continued presence of evacuees from Southwest Louisiana.
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 brac.org/recovery 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 brac.org.