LSUA March Cenla Economic Dashboard

ALEXANDRIA – The Louisiana State University of Alexandria College of Business releases its March 2022 issue of the CENLA Economic Dashboard. Employment is the dominant story for the local economy.

“Employment in the Alexandria MSA hit a new post-pandemic high in December,” says Dr. Randall Dupont, Dean of the LSUA College of Business.

Final employment figures for December were recently revised upward showing the total employment for Alexandria reached 62,275 in December 2022, the highest level since July 2016! According to Dupont, this marks the third time since the pandemic that employment has reached a new high.

Although employment is up, so is the unemployment rate. Dupont says, “normally, an inverse relationship exists between the level of employment and the unemployment rate. In other words, when one is high, the other is low.” He went on to explain, “However, in an expanding economy, the unemployment rate can rise even when employment levels rise. This occurs when those who were previously unemployed and out of the labor market decide to reenter the market because of improved job opportunities.”

The unemployment rate hit a record low of 2.6% in December before bouncing to 3.1% in January. December’s rate broke previous records of 3.2% set in February 2006 and 3.8% set in 1999. “The local unemployment rate is extremely low,” says Dupont. He expects that to change if higher gas prices, inflation, and interests start affecting the economy.

Central Louisiana had a 3.9% unemployment rate in January, up from 3.4% in December but better than the state’s 4.3%. At 3.1%, the Alexandria MSA continued to have the lowest employment rate among the state’s major meter areas and the tightest labor market. The Louisiana Workforce Commission notes Alexandria currently has 2,015 unemployed and 6,389 job openings. This equates to a ratio of 0.32 workers per job opening or, in other words, three openings for each unemployed person. Lafayette and Shreveport-Bossier have ratios of 0.50 and 0.64, 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 March 2022 CENLA Economic Dashboard, click here.