BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana has an extended option to go till its financial system resumes pre-pandemic financial progress, which wasn’t significantly sturdy to start with, the Louisiana Legislature’s high economist mentioned Thursday.
“I’ve gotten much more optimistic within the final two months,” mentioned Greg Albrecht, chief economist within the Legislative Fiscal Workplace.
Earlier than the COVID-19-related downturn, job progress had been sluggish, which is often the case in Louisiana when oil costs aren’t particularly excessive, Albrecht mentioned. Then between Feb. 20 and April 20 final yr, Louisiana misplaced 284,000 jobs, or about 14% of the state’s payroll employment.
From Could via January, the state added about 121,500 jobs, or lower than half of what was misplaced. Of the 15 main job classes Albrecht tracks, seven have misplaced extra jobs because the pandemic low level in April, he mentioned.
For instance, mining, a sector that primarily consists of oil-and-gas actions, has misplaced 4,000 jobs, as has manufacturing. The transportation and warehousing, finance, actual property leases and leasing, schooling and authorities sectors even have misplaced jobs throughout that timeframe, Albrecht mentioned.
Retail, however, is again at 92% of its pre-COVID-19 stage, he mentioned. Car gross sales are up considerably, although that development is unlikely to final.
Albrecht cited the brand new federal American Rescue Plan, which is able to pump lots of new cash into the financial system, the nationwide vaccine rollout and the quantity of private financial savings many shoppers have racked up as causes for optimism. He mentioned he’s apprehensive about how new variants of COVID-19 may have an effect on shopper confidence.
Albrecht additionally cautioned lawmakers that an enhancing financial system could not enhance state income as a lot as some may assume. A multibillion-dollar industrial building “growth” in the course of the previous decade resulted in solely a one-year, 3% enhance in gross sales taxes, Albrecht mentioned.