The Baton Rouge Area Chamber today unveiled Progress by the Numbers, a forward-looking dashboard tracking more than 45 metrics in four key areas that reflect the economic vitality of the Capital Region.
The dashboard will focus on benchmarks related to attracting and retaining talent, diversifying the industry and job base, creating a more inclusive community and enhancing the region’s livability, areas the chamber emphasizes in its five-year strategic plan.
By tracking year-over-year changes, BRAC can better identify areas of progress and opportunities to accelerate economic growth, says Andrew Fitzgerald, the regional economic development group’s senior vice president of business intelligence.
“We know some of is not good,” he says.
Fitzgerald points to rising attainment of associate degrees as a positive, while traffic metrics and racial and gender disparities highlight challenges. Only 39% of residents have a positive impression of Baton Rouge, which makes it harder to recruit companies and talent, he says.
Adding 500 new jobs in emerging sectors over the next five years will signal “a strong shift toward economic diversification,” BRAC says. The dashboard indicates the region already is almost halfway there with 217 new jobs (most associated with Origin Materials) since last year in renewable energy, which is related to, but distinct from, the region’s traditional industrial sector, Fitzgerald says.
“We’re watching not only new companies come in, but your BASFs and Exxons pivot,” he says.
You can dig into the numbers starting here.