The pandemic has hit Louisiana’s economy and economists say it could takes years to recover.
Since March more than 800,000 people have filed new unemployment claims.
When COVID19 made it to Louisiana, Louisiana’s job loss was at 11% leaving local economists looking at unprecedented numbers.
“To put that number in perspective it’s almost double the job loss the state in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina,” said Dr. Gary Wagner, a professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
He’s never seen anything like this.
“I almost double-check everything because you think that number can’t be right,” said Dr. Wagner. “That’s kind of the world we’re in right now.￼”
The category five Hurricane that devastated southern Louisiana 15 years ago left a mark on Louisiana, but this pandemic is doing much worse because it isn’t just local.
“It’s a natural disaster that is sweeping across the country,” said Dr. Wagner. “So we’re not able to pull in resources from other states to help us because they need those resources.”
During Katrina, Lafayette didn’t face too big of a negative impact.
“In Lafayette, our jobs were increasing during Hurricane Katrina because we had a migration of people.”
And during this pandemic, Dr. Wagner says Lafayette has been luckier than other areas.
“We’re actually down about 18,000 jobs which is about 9%,” said Dr. Wagner. “So New Orleans, Shreveport, Baton Rouge all lost more than 10%. I think New Orleans was like 15%.￼￼￼”
But looking at the numbers, he says we could have a long way to go to begin the recovery process.
“It doesn’t look like any of the models in my forecast points towards her recovery until at least 2022￼￼￼￼,” said Dr. Wagner.
Even though there are a lot of unknowns Dr. Wagner says there is a positive, he and other economists at the beginning said it looked like it was going to be worse than it’s is now.
To look at Dr. Wagner’s Economic Forecast you can go here.