BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Baton Rouge Area Chamber, BRAC, released its 2023 Economic Outlook report, highlighting increased college student enrollment, regional growth in entrepreneurship, and an increase in population migration.

“The report shows, to no one’s surprise, that workforce needs are expected to be of greatest importance to business owners heading into 2023,” said Adam Knupp, CEO of BRAC.

Colleges like LSU, Southern University, and Baton Rouge Community College are at an all-time high for enrollment.

Senior Vice President of Business Intelligence of BRAC, Andrew Fitzgerald says the enrollment numbers are over 58,000 approaching 59,000, which is significantly higher than last year, sitting at about 55,000.

When it comes to applying for jobs, LSU Students Ana Alvarado and Lauren Steven say to get a job, any higher education degree will open doors. Without the degrees, they feel companies won’t consider them for the positions.

“Companies are definitely stepping up their game with what they want from students,” said Alvarado. “It’s kind of becoming the norm to have a college education, at least for me coming out of high school, you the next step. It didn’t seem like much of an option,” said Steven.

Fitzgerald says that students are pushing to get degrees in the area. However, the labor market in the Capital Area is at an all-time high and looking to fill positions.

“We have 2.7% unemployment, we only have 11,000 people who are actually looking for work in Baton Rouge that is currently in work,” says Fitzgerald.

To keep young talent in the area, BRAC recommends using tools like Handshake to help employers connect with students across the Baton Rouge Region.

With a program like Handshake, Fitzgerald says, “Building that connection while someone is still a college student, that’s how you get them to stay in Baton Rouge. That is how you get them to build a professional network and build roots here.”

Jobs in Healthcare remain at an all-time high in Baton Rouge. The new year shows that there will be a job boom for computer programming and construction.

To read the full 2023 Economic Outlook report, click here.