(Louisiana Radio Network/Jeff Palermo)

The Louisiana Economic Outlook estimates by 2022 Louisiana will have recovered only 90% of the 105,000 jobs lost during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the report, it’s the worst downturn the state has experienced since the early 1980s.

LSU Economist Dr. Loren Scott says the recovery will be more of a Nike Swoosh than a V.

“When you look on the side of one of those Nike tennis shoes, you see that thing that goes down and heads out to the side, instead of going right straight up,” said Scott.

The forecast calls for the state to recover 72,000 jobs in 2021 and another 21,000 in 2022. This will leave the state about 11,300 jobs short of recovering all the jobs lost from COVID-19.

So what is driving the slow recovery? Scott says oil prices will only rise to 49 dollars a barrel by 2022, doing real damage to regions that have a lot of workers in the oil and gas industry.

“We don’t have Houma and Lafayette recovering all of the jobs they’ve lost since the COVID started over the next two years, we think it’s going to take until 2023,” said Scott.

The Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, and Hammond regions are all projected to regain all of the jobs they lost by 2022, but the Shreveport-Bossier region, due to reliance on casinos, is only expected to get 70% of their 10,600 lost jobs back.

The report was conducted before Hurricane Laura devastated southwest Louisiana, but Scott anticipates the region will see higher than expected growth due to all of the wind damage caused by the storm.

“What you are going to see over the next year or so, tremendous amounts of insurance money flowing into Lake Charles to repair everything,” said Scott.

Lake Charles was set to lose an estimated 7,000 jobs this year due to the pandemic, before the storm hit.

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