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Acadiana business leaders looking forward after dismal start to year

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 19:40:16-04

Acadiana business leaders are looking ahead to the future and at a rebound from the dismal start to the year.

The local economy suffered two major blows - not only did the coronavirus pandemic force businesses to close and lay off workers, the price of oil plummeted to around $25.

When factoring in inflation, that price was lower than the prices seen during the 1986 oil collapse. That double whammy cost Lafayette Parish big bucks.

According to the latest data compiled by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, Lafayette Parish's year-to-date taxable sales are down more than 7 percent compared to last year.

The good news? LEDA President Gregg Gothreaux says Acadiana's economy is in a much better position to bounce back than it was 34 years ago.

"The reason it hasn't affected our economy as much as greatly is because we've gone from 72 percent dependent on oil and gas in 1986 to 32 percent today--directly and indirectly. It's still huge. It's still a third of our economy, but we have diversified," he explained.

As the economy begins to rebound, small businesses can also expect some assistance through LCG's small business grant program, which should be online by Monday, according to Gothreaux.

Gothreaux says he and LEDA are looking forward to helping businesses hurt by the coronavirus.

With the grant money, he hopes to be able to pay a couple month's lease or pay an employee for a month or two.

"We've kind of worked through the numbers, and around $5,000 will do that for a lot of people," said Gothreaux. "We can give them that hand up that they need to get back into business or stay in business if times look tough ahead."

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