Economist forecasts Baton Rouge’s economy for 2022-2023

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana’s economy continues to slowly recover from the pandemic and recent natural disasters. Experts say the next couple of years will be crucial in determining how the Capital Area will rebound.

Retailers may take a hit, but for casinos and construction companies, business may look a little brighter. Well-known economist Dr. Loren Scott spoke about what he forecasts for Baton Rouge in these next few years. 

“This is a year that’s been one of the most difficult ones of all to do a forecast. There is so much fog out there. We’re trying to see through, there are so many uncertainties about what’s going to go on,” said Scott.

Baton Rouge’s economy was on a sharp downslope in 2020 and at the start of 2021.

“Construction-side was one of the sectors that really got nailed during this time period, of course, we had three casinos in our state, in our city, that [were] closed down during that time period as well,” he said.

It is now recovering.

“Now, 2021 in June, we were at 58 percent recovered by the end of this year. We think that Baton Rouge will be 81 percent recovered, which means that this year will be up almost 10,000 jobs” he said.

Stimulus checks have been there to prime the pump, picking us up after such a devastating blow, especially due to personal consumption.

“More gross receipts than you’ve had since 2017, almost a record level receipts. Well, it just shows you where some of that federal stimulus money went,” said Scott.

Retail stores may have a harder time in the next few years as Amazon sets up locations across the state, including in Baton Rouge.

“With Amazon, there will be 1,000-3,500 new jobs, which is a huge win for the state,” said Scott.

There will be some positives for 2022 and 2023. Construction services will be bouncing back from their pandemic losses due to Hurricane Ida.

“Now, the other area we’re going to have some big wins is the industrial construction site, an area that’s really been hit badly by Covid. Six billion dollars in projects are underway,” he explained.

Craig Stevens President of Genesis 360 LLC said their teams will be hard at work in the next couple of years.

“Whenever there’s a natural disaster, it’s unfortunate for many, but for the construction contractors, it’s sort of a blessing in disguise because we have an opportunity to rebuild and grow in that aspect,” he said.

Although there was growth, employment numbers are still catching up.

“On top of the supply shortage of supply delays, there’s a labor shortage and that’s one of the big hurdles for any business, is to get good, qualified people to work,” said Stevens.

Although there are still some areas that are still recovering from the pandemic and storms, industries should start to recover even further as time goes on and more opens.

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