BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — People are moving to Baton Rouge at a rapid pace.

“The net migration was positive, 9,000, so 9,000 more people moved in than moved out in 2021,” stated Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) Senior Vice President of Business Intelligence Andrew Fitzgerald.

He said that’s about 25 people a day deciding to settle down in the Red Stick.

“As your population grows, your economy grows,” he explained. “People need food and places to live, and that helps restaurants, grocery stores, and homebuilders.”

He said while the population rises, we’re also seeing a drop in unemployment.

“We have one of the lowest unemployment rates we’ve ever had in a while, the only thing holding our economy back from really booming even more than it is right now is there just aren’t enough people for the jobs. So really, it is a war for talent out there,” said Fitzgerald.

BRAC estimated we have about 13-14,000 people looking for work and almost 30,000 open jobs in Baton Rouge.

“So two open jobs for every one person looking for work,” he stated. “So people moving in give hope that some of those jobs will get taken up and the economic productivity increases.”

Fitzgerald believes in order to keep this trend, it’s important for the city to be the place to be, buzzing with activity.

“Instead of people going to the grocery store and cooking at home, they decide, I want to go see a concert downtown and we’ll get a drink beforehand and dinner afterward, and the economic cycle starts there,” he explained.

For this to work, there needs to be enough housing to support the growth.

“I think one thing we need to be cautious of is just with more people means you need more homes, and I think with flooding and issues like that, people have to be skeptical of building more homes,” he said. “But the way you keep young people in a community is eventually when they start building a family, they need a single-family home. We need to make sure that their starter home is available for a reasonable price.”

Nailing down some of those main needs could send the Capital region in a new direction.

For more information on BRAC’s Economic Dashboard Indicator, click here.