ALEXANDRIA, La (WNTZ) – The Louisiana State University of Alexandria College of Business releases its June 2022 issue of the CENLA Economic Dashboard. Record employment continues to dominate the economic news.
“For the fourth time in five months, employment in the Alexandria MSA hit a new post-pandemic high,” says Dr. Randall Dupont, Dean of the LSUA College of Business. In April 2022, 63,456 were employed in the Alexandria metro area, an increase of 229 from March. Shortly after the pandemic started, Alexandria’s employment level reached a record low of 55,588 in May 2020. “That was the lowest level in 30 years,” says Dupont, who noted local employment records date back to1990. “Some analysts had predicted our local employment would continue falling to 50,500 by mid-2021, but it rebounded quicker than expected” he added. By November of 2021, employment had exceeded the pre-pandemic level. Since that low, almost 8,000 have been added to local employment rolls.
“The increase in the labor force appears to be coming from longer-term unemployed returning to the workforce,” says Dupont. Weekly continuing unemployment claims in Louisiana have fallen from 50,700 a year ago to 9,800 in May as more workers find jobs. “We are watching initial unemployment claims,” he noted, “as it will provide an early indication of changes in the labor market.”
The unemployment rate for the Alexandria MSA was 2.6% in April, down 0.2% from March. Central Louisiana’s unemployment rate of 3.2% in April compared favorably to the state’s April rate of 3.5%. At 2.6%, the Alexandria MSA continues to have the lowest unemployment rate among the state’s major metro areas and the tightest labor market. “The tight labor market in Alexandria continued in April with a ratio of four openings for each unemployed,” says Dupont. Louisiana’s preliminary unemployment for May edged upward to 3.6%.
Consumer spending in April, when compared to March, was down in all twelve Cenla jurisdictions, with declines ranging from -6% to -31%. However, tax revenue year-to-date in all jurisdictions except one is ahead of last year. Online shopping in central Louisiana in April fell by 9% from March, as measured by online sales tax. Nevertheless, online shopping is up 17% over a year ago. Year-to-date, every jurisdiction in central Louisiana is reporting higher online sales, with the region averaging a 13% increase so far this year.
The CENLA Economic Dashboard is a service of the LSUA College of Business to help business and community leaders monitor the economic pulse of central Louisiana. To view the June 2022 CENLA Economic Dashboard, click here.