ALEXANDRIA, La. – The Louisiana State University of Alexandria College of Business has released its January 2023 issue of the Central Louisiana Economic Dashboard.
Job creation was the story in 2022, said Randall Dupont, dean of LSUA’s 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 figures, which are the latest available, represent 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 people out of work in the metro area has reached its lowest point since record keeping began in 1990. According to data from the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the Alexandria-Pineville MSA had 1,623 people out of work. That number rose to 5,934 in September 2005, the month after Katrina. Employment in Natchitoches Parish increased by 55 to 16,072, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.1%. The continued increase in unemployment claims in the second half of 2022 may be a sign of a weakened labor market if the trend continues, said Dupont.
Another bright spot for the economy was consumer spending in 2022, which Dupont expects to remain at current levels or higher if employment remains steady. As measured by sales tax revenue, only Concordia Parish experienced 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. respectively.
Consumer spending on cars was either down or showed no growth in all six reporting areas, with only Evangeline showing a slight gain of 1%. Rapides car sales are down -7% for 2022, while Natchitoches and Vernon are down -9%.
“Online sales in central Louisiana will rise 24% in 2022, according to data from the Remote Seller 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 seller 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.
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