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2020:Q4 Louisiana Economic Activity Forecast

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The Louisiana Economic Activity Forecast provides data and analysis to policymakers, the business community, and general public. The report presents baseline, optimistic, and pessimistic scenarios for key Louisiana economic indicators.

Scenarios and projections will be updated quarterly to reflect the most up-to-date economic outlook for the U.S. economy and other vital sectors that are influential in shaping Louisiana’s economic activity. The report is compiled by Dr. Gary A. Wagner, professor and Acadiana Business Economist/BORSF Endowed Chair in Economics at B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.

2020:Q4 Louisiana Economic Activity Forecast

2020:Q4 Louisiana Economic Activity Forecast

Executive Summary
The pace of economic activity accelerated sharply in the U.S. and Louisiana between the second and third quarters as coronavirus restrictions were relaxed. Payroll employment in Louisiana increased by 82,000, with every metro area in the state except Lake Charles experiencing solid growth. The Monroe metropolitan statistical area (MSA) witnessed the fastest job growth in state (7.5%), followed by New Orleans (5.7%) and Lafayette (4.8%). Despite the uptick in activity, jobs in Louisiana remain about 138,000 below (roughly 7%) the number we had in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The unemployment rate in Louisiana also declined markedly, dropping from a high of 12.9% in the second quarter to its current level of 8.4%. This reduction overstates the strength of the economic recovery because a significant share of the reduction in the unemployment rate (in Louisiana and nationally) is due to unemployed workers dropping out of the labor force. Between April and October 2020, almost 10 million people in the U.S. more than normal have exited the labor force. 

Home price growth in the state continues to be strong as inventory levels remain well below historic norms. Growth is generally expected to exceed 3% through the end of 2021.

With an improved national economic outlook over the next 18 months, Louisiana’s outlook has improved as well. The state is now projected to regain all job losses since 2019:Q4 by the first quarter of 2022, with the Monroe, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge MSAs expected to lead the way.

Every forecasting model contains uncertainty.The results in this report are intended to provide broad guidance and should not be a direct cause for decision-making. This is particularly true now in light of the evolving global pandemic surrounding COVID-19. 

Click here to subscribe to receive the Louisiana Economic Activity Forecast by email when published. 

2021 Report Release Schedule
First Quarter: February 19, 2021
Second Quarter: May 21, 2021
Third Quarter: August 20, 2021
Fourth Quarter: November 19, 2021