Region gains back jobs for seventh consecutive month
Baton Rouge, La. (January 14, 2021) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today released its first COVID-19 economic indicator dashboard of the year. The dashboard, to be released monthly, examines and assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the regional economy. Current and archived dashboards are available online at brac.org/recovery.
“As the year wound to an end, the local economy continued to show signs of recovery, but also served a reminder that there’s still much work to be done,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior director of business intelligence for BRAC. “There was decent job growth over-the-month, but we still saw an influx of new unemployment claims in the week after Christmas. Travel to work remained strong, but travel to recreational sites shrank, underscoring the trouble for businesses in the leisure & hospitality sector.”
The region’s hard-hit leisure & hospitality sector represents a third of the total 20,800 jobs still lost. While the sector added 900 jobs from October to November, it faces continued government restrictions on reopening.
The newly revived Paycheck Protection Program may spur spending to aid both the leisure & hospitality sector and the region’s small businesses. Small business revenue remains down in Ascension Parish (-3.3%), and significantly down in Livingston (-31.5%) and East Baton Rouge (-21.9%) parishes.
Key findings from this month’s dashboard include:
- Unemployment claims rose in the first week ending in 2021, but it is unclear whether this is due to job loss or the extension of unemployment benefits by the federal government;
- The Capital Region added 2,000 jobs over-the-month, meaning we are down approximately 21,000 jobs since the pandemic’s high of 55,100 lost;
- Hotel occupancy was higher than the last week in 2019, 37% to 34%, but revenues this year were approximately $100,000 lower for the week;
- Mobility was down for most destinations outside of the workplace, indicating that a large number of businesses are still open in the region.
To download this month’s indicator dashboard directly, click here.
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.
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.