BRAC Releases Report Supports End of Improved Federal Unemployment Benefits | latest news

The Baton Rouge Region Chamber (BRAC) announced today that its board of directors has adopted a political position calling on state leaders to end federal unemployment improvement payments before their scheduled expiration in September.

“The increase in federal unemployment made sense when the government ordered business closures that left hundreds of thousands of Louisiana residents without the opportunity to work. As virtually all COVID restrictions have now been lifted and there is an incredible demand for labor, there is less and less justification for continuing a program that deters residents from seeking employment, ”said Andrew Fitzgerald, Senior Director of Business Intelligence at BRAC. “The weekly payment, combined with state unemployment assistance, is currently equivalent to almost $ 14 an hour, which is almost the state’s median individual income. In other words, one can be in the middle of the pack in terms of income by not working.

While many companies anecdotally reported hiring issues to BRAC, the board’s action was primarily a data-driven decision based on research showing distortions in regional and state labor markets. . These include the following:

Although there are 24,000 unemployed residents in the Capital Region, there are over 30,000 job openings, thousands of which require no experience and only a high school diploma or GED;

The state has a similar excess of job vacancies, with 160,000 openings and only 150,000 unemployed residents. The majority of these openings require no education beyond a high school diploma and little or no experience;

Despite the end of COVID-related trade restrictions in late March and early April, unemployment in the capital region remained stable at 5.8% during the month, 2.0% higher than the rate before the pandemic;

Louisiana and the Baton Rouge metropolitan area have unemployment rates above the national average of 5.7%;

With the federal improvement, Louisiana residents receive $ 547 per week in unemployment, while the median individual income in the state is $ 556 per week, discouraging a return to a number of jobs. in restaurants, bars, retail and other sectors hit hard by the pandemic.

In particular, when compared to peer southern states, it is clear that Louisiana is lagging behind in terms of residents returning to work. Each state listed below – all but one of which have better unemployment rates than Louisiana – has announced that it will end enhanced benefits by the end of June or early July in order to provide an incentive to return to work. Alabama is slightly larger than Louisiana in terms of population, but has 79,300 unemployed residents while Louisiana has 150,400, nearly double.


Unemployment April 21















Caroline from the south


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Nationally, half of all states have decided to end enhanced benefits before the September expiration. The graph below Reuters illustrates the national landscape associated with the issue, Louisiana being the only stronghold in the southern Gulf.

For more information on job openings in the Baton Rouge area, BRAC conducts a quarterly analysis of job openings and in-demand skills in the area, which can be found at -workforce / talent-data /. Current job openings with regional employers are available on BRAC’s BR Works page at

About the Baton Rouge Region Chamber

The Baton Rouge Region Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the Baton Rouge region, which has nine parishes, striving to create jobs and wealth and improve the business climate and competitiveness. In the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,500 small businesses, midsize businesses, large corporations and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. As such, BRAC is the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at

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