Leisure & Hospitality show strong job growth amid asymmetrical recovery
Baton Rouge, La. (July 8, 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.
“Strong spending and travel numbers despite stagnant unemployment continue to highlight the asymmetry of the post-pandemic recovery,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior vice president of business intelligence at BRAC. “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. In positive news, Leisure & 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.
Regional vaccination efforts remain sluggish and behind national benchmarks with only 40% of the total population inoculated. Because of the high level of cross-parish commuting for work – half of those employed in EBR live outside the parish – it’s vital that the entire region continues to work toward herd immunity.
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.
Through its BR Works initiative, BRAC compiles local job openings. Job seekers can visit brac.org/br-works for access to hundreds of employers seeking applicants for a range of occupations.
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 1,500 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.