Baton Rouge area plant turnarounds to boost industrial construction job demand

Demand for industrial construction jobs in the Baton Rouge area is expected to jump late this year, as well as in mid and late next year due to scheduled plant turnarounds, according to the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance’s latest bi-annual employment outlook.

Aside from the turnarounds, during which an entire processing unit of a plant is taken offline to upgrade or replace it, demand will remain “steady” over the next 18 months, according to GBRIA. The top three industrial jobs in demand will be pipefitters, welders, and instrument and electrical technicians. But boilermakers, equipment operators, insulators, mechanics, millwrights and scaffold builders will also be in demand, according to the forecast.

GBRIA notes that more than $129 billion worth of capital improvements at area plants have also been announced across the state. In the Baton Rouge area, about $35 billion worth of projects are planned, requiring an estimated 5,000 direct hires, 11,000 permanent indirect jobs and 25,000 temporary construction jobs.

The association generates its bi-annual employment outlook by surveying its members, which include 60 petrochemical, energy, paper, pharmaceutical, storage terminal and other industrial facilities. In its last forecast, released in February, GBRIA said as many as 28,000 contract laborers are expected to be needed in the greater Baton Rouge area through next summer.

As previously reported, construction continues to be one of Louisiana’s strongest sectors, with new unemployment figures from the Associated Builders and Contractors showing the state’s rate fell by 1.2 percentage points from May to June, settling at 5.6%. That’s the lowest level of construction unemployment recorded yet this year in Louisiana, according to the nonseasonally adjusted figures. And the 5.6% rate is also the lowest for construction in Louisiana during the month of June since June 2006, when it was at 4%.

—Steve Sanoski

There are no comments. Click to add your thoughts!