Region solidly in economic recovery as vaccination rollout continues
Baton Rouge, La. (April 15, 2021) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today released its monthly COVID-19 economic indicator dashboard that 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.
“The Capital Region economy is solidly in recovery,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior director of research at BRAC. “The potential for major industrial projects to resume this year sets the region up for significant recapture of lost construction jobs, and warmer weather and the reemergence of cultural events like live music and outdoor festivals in the fall may provide a much-needed boost for the Leisure & Hospitality sector. The more quickly the region reaches vaccination herd immunity, the more quickly the economy will grow. Regional employers can play a major role in this by encouraging employee vaccination, and even offering flex time to do so during regular work hours.”
Vaccine uptake varies significantly among Capital Region parishes, with West Feliciana far exceeding the average at 58.5% of its adult population with a vaccine series initiated. The region’s largest parish, East Baton Rouge, sits at 40.4% vaccine initiation. With the high level of cross commuting in the region, it is critical that the entire region commits to working toward herd immunity.
Key findings from this month’s dashboard include:
- Jobs rebounded from January’s post-seasonal employment slump, with the Capital Region seeing growth of 3,800 jobs in February, led by the Government, Construction, and Transportation & Utilities sectors;
- The Baton Rouge metro’s recovery is now in line with peer out-of-state metros, with regional job count within 5% of pre-pandemic numbers. This is significantly above in-state peers like Lafayette (7.8% below) and New Orleans (9.4% below);
- While Phase Three reopening will likely lead to more job openings, the week immediately after the Governor’s announcement saw a slight uptick in unemployment claims;
- Hotel occupancy was higher than even 2019 for the week ending April 3, indicating that certain types of travel have resumed.
To download this month’s indicator dashboard directly, click here.
BRAC’s Economic Indicator 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.