Consumer confidence and economic recovery dependent on slowing spread
Baton Rouge, La. (July 8, 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.
Week-over-week data continues to show little movement across major indicators; however, metro fuel sales, mobility to and from work, and hotel occupancy are within 15% of year-over-year averages, a sign that the economy is progressing slowly toward normal levels. Critically, combined weekly unemployment claims remain around 55,000, an indicator that will be important to monitor as the federal enhancement to unemployment benefits expires at the end of the month.
“As the state languishes in Phase Two of reopening, with COVID-19 cases flat or rising, Baton Rouge’s regional economic recovery languishes along with it,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior director of business intelligence for BRAC. “Residents’ response to the increased rate of positive test results has been to curtail non-work travel and spending, which will have a negative impact on the suffering leisure and hospitality industry. Nationally, people have engaged in commerce when they feel safe, not when a governmental order tells them they can go spend money; that is holding true in the Capital Region as well. Bottom line: economic recovery hinges on stopping the spread.”
Key takeaways from this week’s dashboard include:
- Consumer spending was flat or down in the largest Capital Region parishes;
- Retail fuel sales were up significantly at the state level and slightly at the metro level;
- Mobility data shows more driving to work by regional residents, but less driving to parks, retail and recreation sites;
- The number of weekly unemployment claims was relatively static for the third consecutive week;
- Hotel occupancy was up for the week, potentially due to travel related to the special legislative session;
- While COVID-related deaths and mortality rates are flat, positive test rates and hospitalizations are up.
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.