Region within 3% of full jobs recovery
Baton Rouge, LA (March 29, 2022) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today released its monthly economic indicator dashboard that examines and analyzes the state of the regional economy. March’s dashboard was delayed due to late reporting of regional data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To download this month’s indicator dashboard directly, click here.
“While the region experienced an expected dip in employment in January due to the end of seasonal work, the year-end employment numbers were revised up by more than 4,000 jobs, meaning the economy has been performing better than previously realized,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior vice president of business intelligence for BRAC. “Notably, employment in Leisure & Hospitality actually added 200 jobs in January, bucking national trends and reflecting the continued above-average hotel occupancy for the region.”
The Baton Rouge Area’s jobs recovery, currently within 3% of pre-pandemic numbers, places the region in the middle of the pack among peer metros, none of which are currently above a pre-pandemic baseline.
New to this month’s dashboard is an analysis of housing stock and affordability. The region’s housing has become significantly more expensive over the last year for both owners and renters, a particular concern for young professionals attempting to become first-time homeowners. Median monthly rent for a two-bedroom home has increased $137 per month over last year, and the median sales price of a single-family home has increased more than $24,000 in the same timeframe.
Key findings from this month’s dashboard include:
- Demand for travel in Baton Rouge has remained strong for nearly half a year; hotel occupancy throughout the metro was nearly 10% higher than the national average in mid-March;
- Seasonal employment ending caused some expected job losses, while the leisure & hospitality industry avoided that trend and added 200 jobs in January;
- The Professional and Business Services industry is showing sustained job growth through the pandemic, adding 1,600 new jobs since March 2020;
- All peer metros faced job losses in January, and no peer metros have more jobs now than they did pre-pandemic;
- Travel to workplaces is down about 23% in East Baton Rouge Parish compared to pre-pandemic, potentially reflecting the shift to remote work; and
- Rents are rising and housing is becoming less affordable; the Baton Rouge metro should encourage new development to offset rising prices and retain young talent.
With job openings significantly higher than the number of people seeking work in the Baton Rouge Area, BRAC encourages jobseekers to explore employment opportunities through BR Works, the region’s first and only regional jobs portal. The site also includes a resource bank for jobseekers, including financial resources available to help individuals interested in upskilling or reskilling into a new field.
BRAC’s Economic Indicator dashboard looks at a number of data points to illustrate the economy’s current state. With data from a number of regional stakeholders, the dashboard is the most real-time analysis of the Baton Rouge metro economy available.
BRAC’s business intelligence team provides custom research services on a competitive fee-for-service basis, including labor market research, economic impact modeling, demographic and economic data, and general research and consulting. Interested businesses may contact Senior Vice President of Business Intelligence Andrew Fitzgerald at email@example.com.
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.