BRAC: Employment rebounding, though still short of 2019

Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

The Capital Region’s job count is rebounding but continues to fall short of 2019’s total, says Andrew Fitzgerald, vice president for business intelligence with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. 

The region had about 33,000 total open jobs in July, he says. On any given day, the number hovered between about 21,000 and 23,000 or so, compared to about 10,000 or so in 2019. 

Daily job openings now are down to about 18,400.

“We aren’t seeing massive business closures,” Fitzgerald says. “That makes me think that the jobs are either getting filled, or to some extent they’re automating or going to a smaller workforce.” 

The nine-parish Baton Rouge region has about 390,000 jobs now, compared to about 410,000 pre-pandemic, he says. Some people have retired early, while others have decided they want a new career and have left the workforce to add new skills. 

Fitzgerald says some workers are looking to “move from a more vulnerable industry like food service” to a “more resilient occupation.” Truck drivers and registered nurses are in high demand, he adds. 

He says BRAC plans to launch a “comprehensive job board” that will help users find jobs that match their skills and find training options for “upskilling” to qualify for high-demand jobs. 

“We’ve learned a lot about skills mismatch,” he says. “We’re looking for creative solutions to ensure that skills mismatch can be solved more quickly next time if the economic landscape changes again.” 

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