BRAC’s August 26 COVID-19 Brief: BRAC’s Economic Indicator Dashboard

BRAC produces an economic indicator dashboard as part of our business recovery priorities. The dashboard examines and assesses the impact of COVID-19 on the regional economy, taking into account a number of data points to illustrate the economy’s current state, and to keep businesses informed as it begins to steady and rebound. Past dashboards are archived on This week’s data has shown the strongest signs of recovery since the outset of the pandemic.


Key findings from this week’s dashboard include:  

  • Total weekly unemployment claims dropped sharply for a second straight week, for a total drop of 22% since the week ending August 1;
  • Consumer spending rose significantly in East Baton Rouge through August 9, meaning that the three largest parishes in the region are within 5% of pre-pandemic spending;
  • Small business revenues in Ascension and East Baton Rouge have grown despite numerous closures due to the roll-back of some Phase Two openings; however, Livingston has been hit significantly, with 34% of small businesses closed and revenues down more than 40%;
  • Hotel occupancy continues to trend toward 2019 averages, although next week’s numbers may be artificially high due to hurricane evacuations;
  • Retail fuel sales were higher than the same week in 2019 for both the metro area and state, continuing the upward trend in the statistic. Next week will likely show increased sales as well, due to the hurricane.
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