Following the revelation that Louisiana suffered one of the worst Q1 economic declines in the nation, today’s weekly unemployment claims announcement contains even more bad news for Louisianans.

Despite remaining steady over the past six weeks, the Department of Labor reports the week of July 4 saw a 45 percent increase in the number of people in Louisiana filing new unemployment claims compared to the previous week. The report shows the state’s number of initial unemployment claims ending the week of July 4 increased by almost 10,000 people.

The number of people on unemployment insurance, which is a lagging indicator, has remained essentially unchanged and currently sits at around 300,000 Louisianians. This equates to roughly 15 percent of the total Louisiana labor force.

Given the extension of the state’s Phase 2 reopening efforts and newly added restrictions by local governments in some parts of the state, much of Louisiana’s economy remains at a standstill. These continued roadblocks to getting Louisianans back to work combined with the reported increase in initial unemployment claims foreshadows tougher economic times ahead for the state.

Even with the positive reforms passed by the legislature during the regular and special sessions, it’s clear that much more needs to be done. If we want to reverse these trends and put our state on a sustainable path for the future, we must enact policies to lift barriers to jobs and opportunity and Get Louisiana Working as soon as possible. If we don’t, the struggles our state’s working families are experiencing today will only worsen.