NEW ORLEANS (AP) — One out of every four workers in New Orleans is without a job because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study by the University of Louisiana Lafayette.
The study found unemployment in New Orleans is the highest in the state at 25%, just ahead of Baton Rouge at 21% without jobs and Lafayette at nearly 19%, The Advocate reported.
The unemployment rates estimated for Louisiana metro regions are based on recent first-time jobless claims filed with the Louisiana Workforce Commission analyzed by Stephen Barnes, an associate professor and director of the University of Louisiana Lafayette’s Blanco Public Policy Center Director.
One of the reasons New Orleans appears to be doing so poorly is the city is dependent upon tourism, which has been devastated by global efforts to stop the virus.
Those numbers compare to a 14.7% national unemployment rate reported Friday that already rivals the Depression-era.
Loren Scott, a Baton Rouge economist and consultant, told the newspaper that April unemployment numbers for Louisiana “are gonna be ugly.”
Some economists have said a significant portion of the people will be hired back once businesses reopen.
“One side that was very positive before we went into this was the national economy was very solid,” Scott said.
Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to announce Monday if he’ll lift restrictions designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus and, if so, which ones.
On Sunday, a group of about 50 restaurants and bars took out a full-page ad in the Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate, urging Edwards and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell to let them reopen.
“We are small businesses and we ask you for your help to save our livelihoods. We ask for a plan that allows us to reopen our businesses safely,” the ad read.
The number of confirmed cases in Louisiana exceeded 31,500 Sunday, and virus-related deaths increased to at least 2,213. The number of hospitalized patients dropped to 1,324. The Federal Bureau of Prisons on Saturday announced an eighth inmate from the federal prison complex in Oakdale had died. Prison officials said 67-year-old inmate George Escamilla died Friday after falling ill with COVID-19 at Satellite Prison Camp Oakdale, a minimum-security facility next to Federal Correctional Institution I Oakdale. Escamilla was serving a 13-year sentence on a cocaine conviction from Texas.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For others, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.
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