Southern job growth: Stagnant in Louisiana; rising in Baton Rouge

Despite growth in four regions of the state, Louisiana’s overall job growth has remained relatively stagnant compared to its Southern peers over the past 13 years. 

That’s according to the latest figures released by the Committee of 100 Thursday morning, which began releasing economic intelligence reports earlier this year. 

Since January 2011, Southern states have seen jobs grow some 27% on average, while Louisiana experienced just a 3% rise. Further, Louisiana has seen some of the lowest job growth since January 2023 as compared to its Southern peers. Tied at 0.3% growth, Louisiana and Mississippi rank higher than just one state: Tennessee. 

Hammond, Houma-Thibodaux and Baton Rouge are the three metros in the state that posted job growth higher than 1% last year, according to the C100 report. 

Honing in on the Capital Region, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber released its own economic indicators report on Thursday that highlights the 6,000 new jobs the Baton Rouge area added in 2023. The growth comes at a time when unemployment has risen to rates comparable to last summer. 

“While population growth was modest, labor force growth over that timeframe was impressive: the number of people either working or seeking work grew almost six times as much as the region’s population,” says Jake Polansky, BRAC manager of economic policy and research. “This shows the regional economy is not only attracting new workers from elsewhere but it’s also bringing current residents back into the workforce.” 

The report also shows that the Capital Region’s tourism industry has rebounded since the pandemic—Baton Rouge has as many leisure and hospitality jobs this month as it did in January 2020, right before COVID upended the sector.