Baton Rouge sees job growth but many sectors still face shortages

Business Report

Construction is one of the fastest growing job sectors in the Baton Rouge area as building and maintenance projects pick up across the Capitol Region following the COVID-19 slowdown seen across all sectors.

Construction added 500 jobs between August and September in Baton Rouge, says Andrew Fitzgerald, senior vice president of business intelligence at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. From September 2020 to September 2021, construction jobs increased by 1,500. 

However, Louisiana lost more construction workers than 47 other states during the pandemic, according to the Association of General Contractors, meaning industry has further to come back from. Industrial contractors are still facing a worker shortage and are struggling to find qualified workers, says Connie Fabre, president and CEO at the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance. 

A lot of plants held off on construction and maintenance during the pandemic, but they can only hold off on these projects for so long, Fabre says. 

Government jobs also grew by 400 locally from August to September, Fitzgerald says, and there’s a good chance this is due to there being a large amount of federal funds to expend. 

Professional and business services growth was more flat between August and September. This could be because fewer jobs were lost in that sector, Fitzgerald says, as those jobs tend to be more remote-friendly. On the other hand, industries like construction fell behind during the pandemic because workers usually had to be on-site. 

While the number of health care jobs failed to grow in Baton Rouge from August to September, the sector has added 1,700 jobs over the year. Leisure and hospitality jobs, including those in restaurants and hotels, grew by 2,400 over the year, but many businesses are still facing shortages.

As demand grows, leisure and hospitality jobs will grow as well, Fitzgerald says, and sectors like fast-food may innovate a way out of needing an abundance of additional jobs in the near future.

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