The Louisiana State University of Alexandria College of Business releases its September 2023 issue of the Central Louisiana Economic Dashboard.
“Recent graduates are finding jobs in Central Louisiana,” said Randall Dupont, Dean of the LSUA College of Business. June’s 4.1% unemployment rate in the Alexandria metro area fell to 3.0% by July, with the number unemployed falling by 732. Natchitoches experienced a similar story, with June’s 5.6% unemployment rate falling to 4.2% in July, with the number unemployed falling by 252.
Although the Alexandria MSA remains the tightest labor market in the state, there are signs of rising long-term joblessness across the state. Initial or short-term unemployment claims were down -13% in July and -10% in August, but continued or longer-term unemployed claims have been trending up since early May.
Through the first eight months of 2023, consumer spending in central Louisiana has slowed but is still ahead of last year in nearly all jurisdictions, except Grant Parish. According to sales tax collections, vehicle sales in August were up just 1% in Rapides over the previous month, but down -1% for the year. Likewise, online consumer spending in central Louisiana slowed this summer, with August collections showing no growth over the previous month, while Rapides had a -3% decline over July collections. Nevertheless, consumer spending for the year is up online by 15% in Rapides and 16% for central Louisiana.
New business applications in Louisiana through July were down -4% compared to the same period last year. However, new business applications in Rapides, which includes data through August, were up 9% for the year. Through August, 305 new businesses were formed in Rapides in 2023 compared to 281 last year at this time.
The Central Louisiana 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 August 2023 CENLA Economic Dashboard, click here.
Written by Randall Dupont, Ph.D. | LSUA College of Business
Photo credit - LSUA Strategic Communications