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OUR OPINION: Capital area still beating recession odds

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

It is comforting to know that the Baton Rouge area economy, which includes Ascension Parish, is still outperforming the national economy overall.

The Baton Rouge area is led by East Baton Rouge Parish with just 5 percent unemployment, followed by Ascension and Livingston parishes, at 5.1 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

Overall, Baton Rouge area unemployment for April remained at 5.2 percent compared to the national unemployment rate of 8.6 percent for the same time period.

Along with the Houma area which is still benefiting from federal hurricane recovery funding, the Baton Rouge area is one of the brighter spots economically on the national radar.

According to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, this area’s unemployment rate remains stable with no monthly change from March to April.

The Capital Region area suffered only a modest decline in jobs for the same period, based on Louisiana Workforce Commission statistics.

That’s the good news and we’ll take all of it we can get.

But, it is prudent to remember that Louisiana has 6,700 fewer jobs this April than it did in April 2008.

In other words, we don’t have to leave Louisiana to find people hurting from the nation’s recession.

And, it should be noted Ascension Parish government recently saw its first dip in sales tax revenue in the past two years.

If we peer into a crystal ball and see cap and trade carbon emission legislation negatively affecting Louisiana’s chemical industry, the state and Baton Rouge area comfort zones may not seem as secure as we would like.

Still, we take comfort in what we see around us, and the good fortune this area continues to experience with regards to the economy.

Stable unemployment, and job gains over the past year are good signs that Ascension and the rest of the Baton Rouge region can weather the economic storm.

Planning for the long-term rather than fretting short-term losses may be the best way to beat this recession.