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The pandemic hit Louisiana extremely hard. Couple the effects of that with record numbers of hurricanes and the recent threats to the oil and gas industry, and it looked like dark days would continue for many years to come.

However, in a report from the Louisiana Radio Network, we learn that Louisiana is actually recovering faster than the initial predictions. Dr. Loren Scott, Professor Emeritus of Economics at LSU and former chairman of the LSU Economics Department, says that when they compared unemployment figures from April 2020 to the figures from December 2020, unemployment has recovered by 69%.

“In other words, we’ve gotten back 69% of the jobs that we lost back during the terrible month of April when we were totally closed down. Originally, we thought that we’d be back about 42%.

Though things have slightly improved in the leisure and hospitality industry, the real gains have been in the retail sector where there are now more jobs than at this time last year.

“There were more jobs in December than there were in the December of last year. It’s one of the few sectors in the economy that actually has more people employed today than they did a year ago,” said Scott.

Dr. Scott adds that as the vaccine becomes more widely available, he predicts things will continue to improve. But, in his estimation, the future is not a pretty picture for our oil and gas industry. In fact, it's now worse than it was in December of 2019 and the Biden Administration’s moratorium on new leases in the Gulf of Mexico is very concerning.

“Then of course the person that he’s chosen to be the head of the Department of Interior is a very anti-fossil fuels person. So, she is going to be a real problem for this industry going forward,” said Scott.

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