LSUA Cenla Economic Dashboard for January

ALEXANDRIA – The Louisiana State University of Alexandria College of Business releases its January 2023 issue of the Central Louisiana Economic Dashboard.  

 Job creation was the story in 2022, says Randall Dupont, Dean of the LSUA College of Business. Employment in the Alexandria-Pineville MSA in November was 63,950, slightly below the 2022 peak of 64,349 set in July. November’s employment figure, which is the latest available, represents an increase of 2,549 jobs over the past year.  

 At 2.5%, the Alexandria-Pineville MSA unemployment rate in November remained the lowest among the state’s major metro areas. The number of unemployed in the metro area reached the lowest point since record-keeping started in 1990. According to Louisiana Workforce Commission data, the Alexandria-Pineville MSA had 1,623 unemployed. That number peaked at 5,934 in September 2005, the month following Katrina. Employment in Natchitoches parish increased by 55 to 16,072, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.1%. Rising continued unemployment claims in the second half of 2022 may be a sign of a weakening job market if the trend continues, says Dupont  

 Another bright spot for the economy was consumer spending in 2022, which Dupont expects to stay at current levels or higher if employment remains steady. As measured by sales tax revenue, only Concordia parish had a decrease in consumer spending in 2022. Spending in Alexandria in 2022 remained the same as in 2021, while Pineville and Ball experienced 5% and 7% gains, respectively. 

 Consumer spending on vehicles was either down or showed no growth in all six areas of reporting, with only Evangeline showing a small gain of 1%. Rapides vehicles sales were down -7% for 2022, while Natchitoches and Vernon were down -9%.  

 “Online sales in central Louisiana in 2022 surged 24%, according to data from the Remote Sellers Tax Commission,” says Dupont. “For the year, Evangeline had a 37% gain, followed by Natchitoches and Rapides with 30% and 27% increases in online spending. Online sales were the fastest growing retail segment in Louisiana.” Under the current remote sellers tax system, tax dollars return to the place of purchase.  

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 January 2023 CENLA Economic Dashboard, click here.  

Written by Randall Dupont, Ph.D. | LSUA College for Business

Photo credit – LSUA Strategic Communications