The Louisiana State University of Alexandria College of Business releases its December 2021 issue of the CENLA Economic Dashboard. ”Higher consumer spending and low unemployment is making for a merry end to the year,” says Dr. Randall Dupont, Dean of the LSUA College of Business.
Christmas spending in CENLA is expected to be better than last year, Dupont surmises. So far this Christmas season, total sales in Rapides are running 7% higher according to sales tax revenue data, while local online sales are exceeding that rate. Online sales in Rapides are 11% higher than last year at this time, and areas like Natchitoches and Evangeline are posting 18% and 41% higher online sales, respectively.
Higher consumer spending this season is accompanied by lower unemployment. From last year at this time, the unemployment rate statewide fell from 7.3% to 4.1%, while the Alexandria metro area saw a decrease from 5.3% to 3.2% in the rate.
Dupont reminds everyone to use caution this holiday season. While the number of Covid cases from the 4th wave steadily declined September through November, that trend appears to be reversing in December. Early reports from the Louisiana Department of Health are predicting a new uptrend. Region 6 (central Louisiana) has 41.2% of the population fully vaccinated, up from 39.7% in mid-November. Rapides and Avoyelles continue to have the highest percentage of completed vaccinations in Region 6 at 46.2% and 44.5%, respectively.
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 December 2021 CENLA Economic Dashboard, click here