Baton Rouge’s recovery middle of the pack among peer metros
Baton Rouge, La. (July 28, 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.
This week’s dashboard includes two new analyses of broader trends and comparative analysis. For the first time, the dashboard looks at current job loss against the Great Recession and 2016 flood, finding that the pandemic has claimed nearly twice the number of jobs as did the Great Recession in its height. Baton Rouge’s economic recovery is also compared to peer southern cities on the indicators of consumer spending, small business revenue, and number of small businesses open, finding Baton Rouge’s urban core in the middle of the pack and significantly less varied than other urban centers.
“While jobs and employment are still major issues in the Baton Rouge metro area, consumer spending, small business revenue, and other local metrics show positive trends thanks in large part to federal stimulus payments and enhanced unemployment benefits,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior director of business intelligence for BRAC. “As Congress mulls the size of the reduction of these benefits, it’s crucial that we focus on finding employment for those currently without a job. There is room for improvement to meet pre-pandemic levels for nearly all metrics, but compared to peer cities, the Capital Region is no longer significantly lagging in its recovery.”
Key takeaways from this week’s dashboard include:
- Although there have been consecutive months of job growth, the Capital Region is still down over 10% since the start of the pandemic;
- Retail fuel sales and hotel occupancy have shown strong rebounds compared to their 2019 levels over the last month;
- Total weekly unemployment claims have stagnated at a significantly high level, as a number of businesses remain closed;
- Consumer spending has rebounded from late-March lows, but small business revenue is still down in some large parishes;
- Compared to peer cities, Baton Rouge’s economic recovery is in the middle of the pack for most major metrics.
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.
BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp presented the dashboard this morning as part of The Advocate’s Mid-Year Economic Outlook. The recorded event may be viewed on The Advocate’s facebook page.
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.