Baton Rouge, La. (July 1, 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.
“As the Governor delayed the start of Phase Three due to an uptick in cases and hospitalizations in several parts of the state, we have seen continued delay in full economic recovery in the Capital Region,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior director of business intelligence for BRAC. “Although cases and positive test rates in the region have risen, there has not been a corresponding uptick in hospitalizations or deaths. However, the increase in cases may have prompted people to continue to stay home rather than engage in commerce, which effects spending, mobility, and other metrics.”
Stagnating consumer confidence over the past several weeks will be a continued point of interest, particularly toward the end of July, with the expiration of Paycheck Protection Program funding and enhanced federal unemployment insurance benefits. The sunset of those programs, combined with the increasing case trends in Louisiana and nearby states, will greatly impact consumer behavior.
Key takeaways from this week’s dashboard include:
- Mobility was down throughout the Capital Region this week, with less travel to work and recreational sites;
- While consumer spending data showed an uptick toward pre-pandemic levels in the largest parishes, small business revenue still lags;
- The number of combined unemployment claims is again down slightly, but not significantly. The slow recovery is also reflected in the newly released unemployment rate of 11.8%, down slightly from the high of 13.0% in April;
- While hotel occupancy rate stayed flat at 47%, the gap between 2020 and 2019 numbers grew for both occupancy and revenues, as the region was hosting a large soccer tournament last year – another reminder of the effect of limited travel on the local economy.
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.