Consumer spending nears pre-pandemic levels across the region
Baton Rouge, La. (June 11, 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.
Consumer spending has shown rapid over-the-month improvement, with both Livingston and Ascension parishes reaching pre-pandemic levels, and East Baton Rouge Parish 12 percent below its pre-pandemic level.
“This data coming out of the tail end of Phase One points to a positive continuation of stabilizing trends such as increases in consumer spending, mobility, and hotel occupancy, and the continued gradual decline in new weekly unemployment claims,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior director of business intelligence for BRAC. “There are some gaps, such as the continued low hourly employment numbers for small businesses in the region. State and local efforts to assist small businesses and create workforce solutions for those permanently displaced will be critical for a continued recovery.”
Notable increases in COVID-19 cases in all parishes since June 1 underscores the importance of adhering to social distancing and sanitation practices to avoid a relapse into stricter restrictions, which would dramatically reduce the economy’s ability to recover.
Key takeaways from this week’s dashboard include:
- Weekly retail and commercial/industrial vehicle fuel sales were up over-the-year, potentially due to individuals and companies purchasing in preparation for the tropical storm;
- Consumer spending is nearly identical to pre-pandemic levels in Ascension and Livingston parishes, and down only 12% in East Baton Rouge;
- Initial and continued unemployment claims continue to drop for the region, but at a relatively slow pace; and
- As mobility increased in the region, hotel occupancy rose for the seventh consecutive week, and is within single-digits of 2019 occupancy rates.
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.