The Baton Rouge metro area has dropped 104 spots on The Wall Street Journal’s job rankings list this year.
The area went from No. 113 down to No. 217 in the nationwide rankings among the 328 metro areas with fewer than 1 million people.
The rankings are based on five 2019 data points: the unemployment rate (4.2%), the labor force participation rate (65.7%), job growth (0.5%), labor force growth (-0.1%), and wage growth (2.9%).
In metro areas with less than 1 million people, Boulder, Colorado, took the top spot, followed by Midland and Odessa, Texas, the Fayetteville, Arkansas, area, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber has visited a number of large metro areas that ranked far better than the capital area—all over the 1 million population mark—as part of its annual canvasing workshops.
Those include: Austin, Texas, (1), Nashville, Tennessee, (2), Raleigh, North Carolina, (7), Orlando, Florida, (8), Cincinnati (11), Phoenix (14), Portland, Oregon, (20), Richmond, Virginia, (27), Tampa, Florida, (33), Louisville, Kentucky, (42), and Pittsburgh (49).
Austin pulled in the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row. The Journal reports Austin and Nashville remain attractive for workers because of low unemployment, high wage growth and labor force growth.
After BRAC visited Cincinnati in 2018, the group concluded that the business community must lead the way to grow the city. Yet, as it was reported at the time, few actual business owners and executives were on the trip.
BRAC CEO Adam Knapp says the report echoes the chamber’s concerns in the 2020 economic outlook.
“While we are growing, our job growth over the last few years has been slower than many of our peer U.S. regions. It underscores the importance to continue to diversify the economy into high growth sectors and make faster strides to improve those quality-of-life factors that drive growth,” Knapp says via email. “The region had a record number of economic development projects last year so we expect these numbers will get better in the coming years, but the urgency of economic development must remain high.”