Consumer spending stable while small business revenue continues to struggle
Baton Rouge, La. (July 14, 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.
“Stable spending and increasing travel and hotel occupancy are bright spots in this week’s dashboard,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior director of business intelligence for BRAC. “That said, the Capital Region’s economy – and small businesses in particular – are in a tenuous position. The closing of bars across the state will likely increase already rising weekly unemployment claims, just as the federal enhanced unemployment benefits are set to expire. Until we equate prioritizing the economy with prioritizing stopping the spread of the pandemic, the economy simply will not fully rebound.”
Key takeaways from this week’s dashboard include:
- While consumer spending was near or at pre-pandemic levels at the start of July, small business revenue is down in the three largest parishes – this is due to the fact that many small businesses did not reopen;
- Although fuel sales are down over-the-year, this is largely due to the corresponding week in 2019 being that of Hurricane Barry, which drove up fuel sales;
- As cases and hospitalizations in the region rose, mobility dropped, specifically travel to the workplace, which saw significant decline in the region’s five largest parishes;
- Hotel occupancy was a bright spot, as it was virtually identical to a similar week in 2019. Hotel revenues are on the rise as well;
- Weekly combined unemployment claims have gone from stagnant to rising over the last few weeks, due mostly to an increase in new initial claims.
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.