Consumer spending was down 25% in East Baton Rouge Parish in late April compared to last year but has recovered from a nearly 40% late-March drop below last year.
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber continues to track some economic indicators during the coronavirus pandemic through a weekly dashboard that for the first time includes consumer spending data from Opportunity Insights.
Consumer spending recovered even more in Livingston Parish and Ascension Parish, which were down only 10.1% and 12.4%, respectively, on April 30, up from about 30% down over the year in late March.
Statewide consumer spending is down 12.7% compared to about 35% in late March.
The state's stay-at-home order was loosened on May 15 and many businesses reopened for the first time since mid-March across the state. So consumer spending should rebound even further, BRAC forecasts.
The number of hourly workers at small businesses in East Baton Rouge Parish was down 58.8% as of May 8, compared to its recent low of 65% fewer workers on April 15. There are about 50% fewer hourly workers at small businesses across the state as of May 8, according to Opportunity Insights data.
Retail fuel sales in Baton Rouge are still down 23% for gas sold between May 4 and May 10, while statewide fuel sales are also down 20%. Retail fuel sales were down by about 40% in late March, the biggest drop during the coronavirus pandemic in Louisiana.
Initial unemployment claims dropped by 21% again to about 7,285 claims in the Baton Rouge metro area as of May 9. BRAC estimates that between 20% and 25% of workers are unemployed in Baton Rouge.
Hotel occupancy was down to 37% between May 3 and May 9, compared to 58% occupancy in 2019. Hotel revenue was only $1.3 million, compared to $3.4 million for the same time period last year.