Regional unemployment continues to fall, but sector-specific challenges remain
Baton Rouge, La. (February 11, 2021) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today released its monthly COVID-19 economic indicator dashboard. The dashboard examines and assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the regional economy. Current and archived dashboards are available online at brac.org/recovery.
“As vaccine rollout began, Baton Rouge saw some positive trends in the region, although jobs essentially plateaued,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior director of business intelligence for BRAC. “Unemployment dropped significantly, hotel occupancy is steady, and people are returning to work in almost every parish. However, the region did lose jobs in a month known for seasonal employment, likely due to more shopping online rather than in brick-and-mortar retail, and virtually no holiday parties in restaurants and bars. Next month job numbers from January will be available, and the early effects of the vaccine on the economy may be seen.”
Unemployment fell in each parish in the metro area from November to December, with the regional unemployment rate 1.6% higher than it was in December of 2019. While most industry growth was flat over-the-month, Trade, Transportation & Utilities saw a gain of 900 jobs. Employment in December for Leisure & Hospitality was at its lowest point since 2010.
Key findings from this month’s dashboard include:
- Despite a drop in the unemployment rate to 6.1%, the Capital Region actually lost 1,200 jobs in December;
- The Leisure & Hospitality industry remains hardest hit, with 8,700 fewer jobs than in the month before the pandemic. Construction is down 7,400;
- The Capital Region’s vaccination rate is in the middle of the pack statewide, with 8.2% of its population vaccinated as of February 5. New Orleans leads Louisiana metros at 9.8% vaccinated;
- Hotel occupancy is only about 4% below the same week in 2019, despite travel still being discouraged;
- In all parishes but one, travel to work is within 25% of its pre-pandemic levels, including Ascension and Livingston, which are only 8% and 7% below, respectively.
To download this month’s indicator dashboard directly, click here.
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 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.