BATON ROUGE, La. (BR Proud) — Consumer and business spending continued its upward trend in April amid an increase in COVID-19 vaccinations and the reopening of the economy. Spending in April reflected a more than 42.1% increase when compared to the same time in 2020, according to the latest report from the city-parish Finance Department.
“It reflects the high consumer spending we’ve consistently cited over the last few months, due to a combination of pent up demand from last year (seen also in travel through hotel occupancy, which is consistently at or above 2019) and otherwise-strong household balance sheets due in part to the stimulus payments from the feds,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, Senior Director of Business Intelligence for the Baton Rouge Chamber.
April 2021’s figures also reflected a 16.2% increase over April 2019.
The Finance Department released its monthly report on recurring sales tax collections Wednesday. April brought in sales tax of $4.58 million and $884,059 in vehicle tax, reflecting increases year-over-year of 38% and 104% respectively.
“The last piece of the puzzle is ensuring this recovery continues as we try to get back the 25-30k jobs we’re still missing from February 2020 as the federal programs end,” said Fitzgerald.
Louisiana will end the $300 per week enhanced unemployment benefit on July 31. The state’s regular jobless benefits will increase by $28 per week, beginning in January.