Stories to remember from 2021: Economic recovery

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Last year, Louisiana was one of the first epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic. But this year, with effective vaccines widely available and the coronavirus seemingly in retreat, life was starting to feel almost normal.

Then the highly contagious delta variant struck, setting new records for hospitalizations, spurring Gov. John Bel Edwards to temporarily reissue the state’s mask mandate, and creating fresh uncertainty in the Capital Region. But by fall, the vaccination rate was inching up (though it was still below the national average), and while the pandemic wasn’t over, the virus seemed back under control.

The recovery has been uneven, and workforce issues and supply chain snags continue to plague businesses. But by October, the Baton Rouge-area’s unemployment rate had fallen to 4.2%, the lowest since before the pandemic, and economist Loren Scott predicts the region will add almost 17,000 jobs next year. However, this could all change depending on what impact the omicron variant of the virus has on the Capital Region.

Read more about the region’s recovery, and check Daily Report PM for the next on our list of the top eight stories from the past year.