Roughly 22 percent of Louisiana’s workforce is unemployed, economist Loren Scott said Thursday.
The hardest hit area is Louisiana’s large oil and gas sector, which has been impacted by oversupply, low oil prices and a limited amount of storage. Prior to the Russian-Saudi oil war the state’s oil and gas industry has been beleaguered by overregulation.
Scott spoke before the Louisiana Legislature’s task force on economic recovery Thursday through an online telecast. The group convened for the first time by phone Wednesdaay.
Its chair, Jason DeCuir, has called for initial recommendations to be made by May 7, which will focus primarily on the areas of immediate economic recovery efforts, followed by longer-term goals to boost the state’s economy.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 22 percent– from its pre-coronavirus level of 4 percent, Scott estimates.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported more than 92,000 state residents filed new claims for unemployment benefits during the week that ended April 18. About 16 percent of Louisiana’s civilian workers had applied for, or were receiving, unemployment benefits last week, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation.
David Stokes, chief of staff for U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, said the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program hopefully will begin distributing another $321 billion in aid for businesses early next week. The PPP was billed as small business relief, though some publicly traded companies were able to get some of the forgivable loans and many of the smallest firms were shut out of the first round, the Center Square reports.