ALEXANDRIA, La. – The Louisiana State University of Alexandria College of Business released its December 2020 issue of the CENLA Economic Dashboard.
“We expect consumer spending to end the year strong,” said Dr. Randall Dupont, Dean of the LSUA College of Business and author of the monthly Dashboard.
Louisiana’s employment picture has been mixed. The unemployment rate rose 1.1% in October, from 8.2% to 9.3%. However, continued unemployment claims fell 42% statewide in November and 36% in central Louisiana. Employment in Alexandria MSA softened in October as the unemployment rate increased from 6.0% in September to 6.6% in October. Job openings decreased by 8% in November.
All nine central Louisiana jurisdictions reported lower sales tax revenues in November, reflecting lower consumer spending in October. Alexandria and Pineville had decreases of 10%, while Avoyelles had the smallest decline at 5%. However, consumer spending is traditionally higher in the fourth quarter. “The trend favors a strong December,” said Dupont, “and most parishes and cities should close the year on a positive note.”
Travel and hospitality is improving. Passenger traffic at Alexandria International Airport (AEX) averaged 76% of last November’s level compared to only 35% nationwide. AEX had the highest percentage passenger throughput rate in the state when compared with 2019 traffic, nearly double the throughput rate of New Orleans. And while hotel occupancy fell 8% in Rapides in October compared to September, it was up 58% over the same period last year. So far, hotel occupancy is just 6% below last year’s level.
“Housing indicators point to a seasonal slowing, but still a robust market in the Alexandria metro area,” said Dupont. The median listing price of a house in the Alexandria MSA was $221,800 in November, up 23% from a year ago.
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 11 CENLA Economic Dashboard, click here.