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As pandemic continues, Acadiana economy sees positive rebound

Economies around the country took a hit during the start of the covid-19 pandemic. Over a year-and-a-half later and many have begun to rebound, including Acadiana.

Posted: Oct 7, 2021 2:11 PM

Acadiana - Economies around the country took a hit during the start of the covid-19 pandemic. Over a year-and-a-half later and many have begun to rebound, including Acadiana.

While some economies were hit harder than others, CEO of One Acadiana, Troy Wayman says the impact of the pandemic on the Acadiana economy was not as bad as projected.

"The actual impacts were not as significant as we expected them to be," Wayman said. "So, it was a little easier for us to rebound in 2021."

Just a month after the World Health Organization declared covid-19 a global pandemic, the effects on the economy were apparent.

According to One Acadiana, in April 2020 Louisiana saw a total loss of more than 286,000 jobs with the Lafayette Metropolitan Area accounting for more than 24,000 of those lost jobs.

"That’s significant for a community our size, but by the end of the year, we had already picked up over 10,000 of those back," Wayman said. "So, we came back pretty quick towards the end of the year."

Acadiana had 191,000 jobs as of August 2020 compared to just over 187,000 jobs during the same time last year, an increase of 4,400 new jobs resulting in a 3 percent drop in unemployment. Wayman says a big part has been the addition of new businesses coming to the region.

"The diversification of our economy is all helping. It’s helping us survive the ebbs and flows," he said. "Especially of the oil and gas sector. The oil and gas sector is so critical to our area but it’s cyclical."

One of the most important factors for an economy is consumer spending. Here in Acadiana, as outside opened back up so did people’s wallets.

Wayman said "the economy is opening back up; people are back out." He added that "there’s kind of a knee-jerk reaction of like ‘man I haven’t bought new shoes in a long time, I haven’t bought a new suit in a long time, I haven’t bought a new shirt.’ so people are spending money in the economy."

He says local businesses have played a big role in consumers deciding to open their pocketbooks again even as the pandemic continues.

"Being able to be intelligent enough to pivot and find those small niches that fit your model is a key to survival and those companies have done extremely well over the past year," he said.

A few other key numbers from the One Acadiana report - Lafayette Parish has the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 4.4 percent below both the state and national rates of 5.5 and 5.2 percent respectively.

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