Baton Rouge, La. (November 6, 2023) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today released findings showing the Capital Region paced the entire country in terms of year-over-year job growth with 19.4% year-over-year job gains in the construction sector – higher than any of the other 358 metropolitan statistical areas in the country. This data comes from an analysis of Associated General Contractors of America, between September 2022 and 2023.
In addition to the Baton Rouge metro having the largest growth proportionately, its 9,000 new construction jobs were the third most overall, behind only Dallas and New York City, metro areas roughly seven and 23 times as large as the Capital Region. Baton Rouge’s job growth in the sector significantly outgrew the Houston metro’s construction job count over-the-year by nearly 18,000 jobs, despite being one-eighth the size of the industrial hub.
“Recapturing the construction jobs lost during the pandemic is crucial to the local economy because of the high earnings associated with the industry: average earnings in construction are about $82,000 annually, which is 17% above average earnings among all industries in the region,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, BRAC senior vice president of business intelligence. “Based on those averages, 9,000 new jobs may equate to $738 million in new earnings in the region through just one sector – the ripple effect of the spending of these dollars will undoubtedly be felt throughout all sectors in the region and state. However, we cannot rest on our laurels; with more than $30 billion of industrial projects considering the Capital Region in renewable energy alone, we must ensure our skilled craft workforce pipeline remains robust, and that as a region we’re prepared to meet the demand for industrial construction talent as our reputation as an international transitional energy hub grows.”
To ensure the Capital Region can meet demand for these skilled craft positions, BRAC and partner organizations focus on providing training opportunities for any resident interested in a career in construction or manufacturing. Through a partnership with East Baton Rouge Public Schools, BRAC started the Talent Action Collaborative – a program in which high schoolers can earn industry-based credentials and get hands-on experience in various career pathways, including skilled craft work. Baton Rouge Community College has partnered with ExxonMobil to establish the North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative, a free workforce training program that has graduated hundreds of residents in trades such as welding, pipefitting, electrical, and more.
These initiatives are aimed at equipping individuals with practical skills and industry insights, but also at addressing current and future workforce needs.
About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) is an aggressively ambitious regional economic development organization with a bias for action. BRAC seeks to push Baton Rouge beyond the status quo, unleash its potential, and support a vibrant business community that believes the finish line does not exist. BRAC seeks to accelerate economic opportunity in the Baton Rouge Area, for everyone, through BRING IT! Baton Rouge, its five-year, regional strategic plan. Learn more about BRAC at brac.org.