Reports: Data on N.O. Job Loss Indicates Slow Recovery

High Hat Cafe
In this file photo, bartender Diana Fisher serves cocktails at the High Hat Cafe on Freret Street. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS – A new report from the Data Center – a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization based in New Orleans – paints an unsurprising yet worrisome picture of pandemic job loss in the metro area.

Based on state and federal unemployment data, the report concludes that the city’s reliance on tourism puts it on a slow road to economic recovery and places many workers in danger of economic hardship once the current federal unemployment subsidy expires at the end of July. 

“With a large share of jobs in industries like leisure and hospitality that have experienced the largest job losses, the New Orleans region faces a combination of relatively extensive pandemic job loss and a relatively slow recovery outlook for tourism-based demand,” said the report’s authors. “Even when the economy begins to show signs of recovery, tens of thousands of local workers, especially those who were in lower-earning jobs before the pandemic, will struggle to meet basic financial needs through the labor market. Likewise, the recovery of the regional economy may be further stunted by ‘second-order’ effects of depressed spending by households, businesses, and the public sector.”

The report notes that the maximum unemployment benefit in Louisiana without the federal boost is $247 per week. (Louisiana is one of only six states that tops out at less than $300.) Even that benefit will expire before the end of the year for most of those who lost jobs due to the pandemic.

It’s unclear what percentage of the 460,000 Louisiana workers currently receiving unemployment benefits will be back to work before the end of the year, but with the very slow recovery of tourism, it’s likely that many hospitality jobs in New Orleans just won’t be there any time soon.

See the complete Data Center report.

Meanwhile, the personal finance website WalletHub released a report showing that the nation’s overall unemployment claims are down to 78% of their peak during the pandemic but New Orleans’ recovery so far is the seventh-slowest on a list of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

See the WalletHub report here.


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