Adam Knapp: The Baton Rouge area has a bright economic future, and soon | Letters

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Baton Rouge’s economy enters 2022 with momentum.

Last year, the region landed 17 announced economic development projects, representing nearly 1,900 new direct jobs and $7.8 billion in new capital investments. This record year for investment promises growth not only in areas in which we consistently excel, such as chemical manufacturing and logistics, but also in expanding sectors such as healthcare, technology and medical services. renewable energies. Growth in these diverse sectors will help attract and retain the talented workforce of tomorrow and will have a multiplier effect for growth across the economy.

The region’s unemployment rate fell to 3.5% in November, which is lower than our pre-pandemic rates and below state and national averages. Employers in the region are optimistic for the year ahead, with expectations for revenue and employment growth almost double what they were at the start of 2021. The region is likely to create 7,000 to 10,000 jobs over the next two years as the economic recovery continues. BRAC research shows that there are over 40,000 vacancies looking for workers, showing that we need talent.

It’s not just the economy that’s growing – from the 2020 census, we know that the population has grown significantly since 2010 and the area passed 850,000 for the first time ever. It’s a trend we hope to capitalize on and expand in collaboration with private and public leaders to ensure that the people who call Baton Rouge home don’t just live here, but love living here. Bridge plans for 2022 include initiatives around talent attraction and retention, narrowing options for a Mississippi River Bridge location, passenger rail, corridor beautification, alignment business and education and expanding support for minority-owned businesses.

While economic development requires a long-term view, we expect 2022 to bring significant progress to the Baton Rouge area.

ADAM KNAPP

President, Baton Rouge Area Chamber

Our view: Despite the challenges of the pandemic, a growing economy in Baton Rouge in sight

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