Concordia Parish outpaced statewide recovery of gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for inflation (real GDP) pre-pandemic levels, 99.12 percent to 93 percent.
Concordia Parish was not alone. Twenty-five percent of Louisiana parishes’ economies witnessed higher real GDP in 2021 compared to 2019 based on recently released datasets from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that were reviewed by LSU AgCenter economist Matt Fannin.
Franklin Parish produced $99.12 million in GDP in 2021.
GDP measures the overall economic activity for the state. Louisiana parishes generated over $258 billion in GDP in 2021. When adjusted for inflation, Louisiana parishes have collectively recovered to almost 93 percent of their pre-pandemic (2019) GDP level by the end of 2021. However, recovery has varied by region of the state.
Catahoula Parish recorded a 98.86 recovery from pre-pandemic levels, while Tensas Parish only saw 86.5 percent recovery from pre-pandemic levels.
Catahoula Parish generated $1.99 million in GDP in 2021. Tensas Parish produced $18.92 million in GDP in 2021.
The parish with the greatest growth was rural Bienville Parish, with 126 percent of its 2019 real GDP by the end of 2021. In fact, 11 of the 16 parishes with higher GDP were rural parishes with no sizable cities (noncore parishes) or with small cities (micropolitan parishes).
According to Fannin while it is true these parishes exceeded pre-pandemic GDP at the ned of 2021, several of them never witnessed any reduction in GPD, but get both in 2020 and in 2021.
“Many of these parishes were less dependent on sectors of the economy that were hardest hit such as leisure and hospitality but were more dependent on forest product sectors such as wood product manufacturing that saw gains statewide,” Fannin said.
Collectively, the rural noncore parishes were 102 percent above their pre-pandemic level by the end of 2021. Rural micropolitan parishes with small cities had almost recovered reaching 99 percent of their pre-pandemic inflation adjusted GDP. In addition to forest products, some of these parishes were also relatively more dependent on food product manufacturing, which also showed statewide gains from pre-pandemic levels.
Metropolitan areas of Louisiana have been the slowest to recover, only reaching 92 percent of their pre-pandemic GDP. Several reasons exist for their slower recovery.
Some of the sluggishness for recovery by the end of 2021 was due to these areas being more dependent on industries that took time to recover. For example, the New Orleans metropolitan region had only recovered 91percent of their GDP as it addressed the slow-but-steady recovery of its leisure and hospitality sectors.
Another big hit to GDP in metropolitan parishes was the 2020 and 2021 hurricane seasons. For example, the Lake Charles metropolitan area had only recovered 81percent of its pre-pandemic GDP by 2021.
While these trends are early snapshots of the recovery, when all the data are collected and reported on the 2022 calendar year, more insights will be gained by about how Louisiana’s regions recovered.
Increased oil prices will likely benefit more of the parishes depending on mining and mining support activities for their economic growth.
As hurricane recovery picks up steam and interest in Louisiana’s tourism industry accelerates, many of these metropolitan parishes are likely to reach — and possibly exceed — the pandemic recovery seen in rural Louisiana to date.