Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statement on the state’s latest unemployment rate of 14.5 percent for April, which is slightly lower than the national rate of 14.7 percent. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Louisiana had generally seen decreasing unemployment for several years. The unemployment rate for March was 6.7 percent.
“As Louisiana, like the rest of the nation, works to rebuild our economy, the unprecedented public health emergency brought on by COVID-19 is not only deeply impacting the health of our people but also the health of our economy,” said Gov. Edwards. “However, as we battle this pandemic recession we know that we have come back before from such challenging times and we will again. We are committed to helping our people and our businesses get back on their feet in the safest way possible as soon as possible. We know that Louisianans are hardworking and want to work. Through the Louisiana Workforce Commission and Sec. Ava Dejoie, we are committed to connecting businesses and employees. Now more than ever we must be united in our efforts to keep the coronavirus at bay in order to get our economy moving forward for our employers, workers, communities and state.”
The Louisiana Workforce Commission has increased its capacity to assist unemployed Louisianans. Since March 22, LWC has paid more than $1.8 billion in both state and federal unemployment benefits to 493,196 people. LWC continues to work with employers to provide grants for on-the-job training and to help connect employers with people who have lost their jobs.
In addition, businesses in Louisiana have received significant aid through the federal Small Business Administration, thanks to funding approved by Congress through the CARES Act. Through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, as of May 16, Louisiana businesses were approved for 65,158 loans totaling more than $7.2 billion. As of May 17, 5,239 Economic Injury Disaster Loans were approved for Louisiana businesses. As of May 7, the SBA has disbursed 52,733 EIDL advances to businesses in Louisiana totaling more than $167.3 million.