LSUA releases July economic dashboard, economy continues to remain strong

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 12:56 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Although Governor John Bel Edwards announced the revised phase two reopening guidelines over the weekend, the local economy here in Cenla continues to remain strong, according to data released in the latest LSUA economic dashboard.

The July report shows positive results in multiple categories, which also means good news for local businesses.

According to the data, Cenla shows continued strength in terms of consumer spending and future construction projects, along with improvements seen in employment numbers.

In consumer spending, Pineville has the largest percentage increase at 25 percent, and Rapides remains strong at 14 percent.

Initial unemployment claims are down by 68 percent in Rapides.

When it comes to construction activity, overall building permit valuations have increased by 50 percent in Rapides and 65 percent in Avoyelles.

The LSUA College of Business Dean tells us building activity is a good sign of the strength of the local economy. However, with many people using the money they get from unemployment benefits, he’s not sure how businesses may be impacted long-term.

“Right now the federal government supplements unemployment, weekly unemployment benefits to the tune of $600 a week and that’s pretty significant. That has helped buoy the consumer spending in our area. If that is not renewed at the end of July when it’s expected to run out, then that could have an adverse impact on spending and on the economy.”

LSUA College of Business Dean, Randall Dupont

22 percent of Louisiana small businesses still believe that things will go back to normal within the next three months in comparison to 14 percent nationally.

Passenger traffic at the Alexandria International Airport continues to go up while hotel occupancy remains weak.

Across the state, small business formation is still looking positive with 31,000 new businesses being formed so far this year.

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