BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana’s economy continues to slowly recover from the pandemic and recent natural disasters. Experts say the next few years will be crucial in determining how the capital region will recover.
Retailers may take a hit, but business could look a little better for casinos and construction companies. The well-known economist Dr. Loren Scott spoke about his predictions for Baton Rouge over the next few years.
“This is a year that has been one of the hardest ever to come up with a forecast. There’s so much fog out there. We’re trying to see through, there’s so much uncertainty about what’s going to happen, ”said Scott.
Baton Rouge’s economy was in a sharp downturn in 2020 and early 2021.
“The construction site was one of the sectors that was really nailed at that time, of course we had three casinos in our state, in our city, that is” [were] also closed during this time, ”he said.
It’s recovering now.
“Well, in June 2021, we had recovered 58 percent by the end of this year. We expect Baton Rouge to recover 81 percent, which means nearly 10,000 jobs will be created this year, ”he said.
Stimulus checks were there to start the pump and picked us up after such a devastating blow, especially due to personal consumption.
“More gross income than you had since 2017, income almost at a record level. Well, it just shows you where some of that federal grant has gone, ”Scott said.
Retail stores could have a harder time in the next few years as Amazon opens locations across the state, including Baton Rouge.
“There will be 1,000 to 3,500 new jobs at Amazon, which is a big win for the state,” said Scott.
There will be some positive aspects for 2022 and 2023. Construction services will recover from their pandemic losses from Hurricane Ida.
“The other area where we’re going to make some big profits is the industrial construction site, an area that has been really badly hit by Covid. Six billion dollars in projects are underway, ”he said.
Craig Stevens, President of Genesis 360 LLC, said their teams will work hard over the next several years.
“Whenever there is a natural disaster it is regrettable for many, but for the contractors it is a blessing because we have the opportunity to rebuild and grow in that regard,” he said.
Despite growth, the employment figures are still catching up.
“In addition to supply bottlenecks and delays, there is a labor shortage and that is one of the biggest hurdles for any company to get good, skilled people to work,” said Stevens.
While some areas are still recovering from the pandemic and storms, industries should continue to recover over time and openings.