Ida exacerbating supply chain issues, while monthly jobs post first over-the-month growth since March
Baton Rouge, La. (September 9, 2021) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today released its monthly economic indicator dashboard that examines and analyzes the state of the regional economy. This month’s dashboard also includes data specifically related to the economic impact of Hurricane Ida on the Capital Region. Current and archived dashboards are available online at brac.org/recovery.
“Some of this month’s data – things like mobility public transit ridership – is meaningfully skewed because of Hurricane Ida, so it is important to grasp the large impact it has had on the Baton Rouge economy,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior vice president of business intelligence for BRAC. “With a number of businesses without power and gas stations without fuel for a full week, next month’s jobs and unemployment numbers may be similarly skewed. We anticipate once the disaster recovery is complete, our regional jobs numbers will continue their pattern of improvement over the summer, as the week before the storm had the fewest unemployment claims since the start of the pandemic.”
Month-end jobs data is largely positive, with both Construction (+1,200 jobs) and Leisure & Hospitality (+800) gaining solid ground. In terms of net job numbers, the Leisure & Hospitality sector is now the closest industry regionally to pre-pandemic levels. The region’s job recovery continues to lag out-of-state peer cities, although it is important to note that most of those benchmarks reside in states that ended enhanced unemployment insurance benefits in June, as opposed to July, like Louisiana. The resurgence of COVID regionally may cool recent job gain trends going into next month’s dashboard.
Key findings from this month’s dashboard include:
- Fuel scarcity is a major issue for Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and New Orleans, with only about half of stations having gas on-hand as of the morning of September 8;
- Power is nearly fully restored to Capital Region parishes, as over 90% of customers now have electricity. St. Helena (56.1%) and Livingston (32.9%) still have significant outages;
- While the private sector added 1,900 jobs, 1,200 government jobs were lost, lowering over-the-month job increase to a modest 700 jobs, the first monthly job growth since March of this year;
- Weekly unemployment claims have fallen for seven consecutive weeks. They are down 32.4% from Governor Edwards’ announcement in June that he would end the federal enhancement to unemployment benefits early, and almost 25.5% since the start of August, when the enhancement ended in Louisiana.
Regional vaccination rates saw a near 5% increase in vaccines initiated for a second consecutive month, led by St. Helena at 6.7%. Livingston, the second largest parish by population in the Baton Rouge metro, is the only parish with less than a third of its population fully vaccinated. 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.
BRAC is regularly updating brac.org/recovery with business resources and guidance related to COVID-19, and brac.org/prepare with business information related to Hurricane Ida.
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.