Jobs data continues in the right direction
Baton Rouge, La. (October 14, 2021) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today released its monthly economic indicator dashboard that examines and analyzes the state of the regional economy. Current and archived dashboards are available online at brac.org/recovery.
“Weekly unemployment claims continue to trend downward, as spending is steady above pre-pandemic levels,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior vice president of business intelligence for BRAC. “Strong hotel occupancy and revenues are incredibly helpful for the Food & Accommodation sector, which was among the hardest hit during the pandemic. Further, recent major industrial project announcements, like today’s by Air Products to build a $4.5B blue hydrogen complex in Ascension, will bring thousands of construction jobs to the region in the near future.”
The region has notched two consecutive months of job growth, with government (+3,000) and professional services (+600) leading gains this month. Compared to peer regions, Baton Rouge saw the second highest percent growth in its employment index during August.
Key findings from this month’s dashboard include:
- Weekly unemployment claims dropped for the third consecutive week, indicating that people are returning to work after the storm and Delta wave of the pandemic;
- Hotel occupancy remains incredibly high overall, and especially benchmarked against the same week over the last two years;
- Fears of a drop in consumer spending after the end of enhanced unemployment have proven to be unfounded, as the three largest parishes are all well above pre-pandemic levels;
- The full recovery of the job market still centers on the construction sector, which is about 6,200 jobs below its pre-pandemic level. The Capital Region lags its peers in job recovery due to its heavy reliance on this sector for high-paying jobs, which have not yet returned.
Vaccine uptake continues to vary significantly among Capital Region parishes, with the rate of new series initiated beginning to decline. While Livingston lags 13% behind the Capital Region average, West Feliciana is the most-vaccinated parish in the state. Businesses are encouraged to host on-site vaccination events for employees to increase vaccinations rates and contain community spread. Information on points of contact for arranging on-site vaccinations can be found on BRAC’s blog.
To download this month’s indicator dashboard directly, click here.
BRAC’s Economic Indicator 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.
Through its BR Works initiative, BRAC compiles local job openings. Job seekers can visit brac.org/br-works for access to hundreds of employers seeking applicants for a range of occupations.
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 1,500 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.