The construction sector, responsible for most of the Capital Region’s recent job losses, is poised for a big comeback next year, according to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.
An expected industrial expansion has engineering firms busy with front-end project work and construction firms swamped by bid-prep demands, according to BRAC’s 2023 Economic Outlook report.
“The report shows, to no one’s surprise, that workforce needs are expected to be of greatest importance to business owners heading into 2023,” Adam Knapp, BRAC’s president and CEO, says in a statement accompanying the report. “The good news is that net migration is rapidly improving, and we continue to see an increase in Capital Region population growth and expect a steady increase through 2025.”
But even with modest population growth overall, the region saw a net loss of residents aged 25-34. Growing higher education enrollment, along with rising wages and abundant job openings, presents opportunities to retain young talent, BRAC says.
In other takeaways from the annual report:
- The region continues to add jobs, though it remains short of pre-pandemic levels.
- However, more people are working, in part because of an increase in self-employment, and the unemployment rate is historically low.
- There were 2,700 new businesses established in the Capital Region over the past two years, and every parish is in the top quintile nationally for new business applications.
- Wages are rising, but not enough to keep pace with national trends, likely due to construction’s delayed recovery.
- Housing stock is being depleted more quickly than national average, but prices are not spiking as high.
- Among business leaders BRAC surveyed, 54% are predicting higher revenue, compared to 21% expecting less, while 42% expect to increase employment compared to 16% who expect to cut jobs.
- While workforce is the biggest stated concern, crime jumped two spots from last year to become the second biggest.