BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Unemployment rates are at an all-time low, according to the state workforce commission.

“I never thought at the start of 2020 that we would ever see unemployment numbers like we saw during the pandemic, but we hit all-time highs,” stated Louisiana Workforce Commission Secretary Ava Cates.

Currently, in the state, unemployment rates are breaking records at 3.6%, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

“We have a low unemployment rate, but we have more citizens working than ever before in our state’s history,” she said.

“The unemployment rate is the percentage of those people that are looking for a job and don’t have one,” added Baton Rouge Area Chamber Senior Director of Business Intelligence Andrew Fitzgerald.

He said these numbers are a double-edged sword for businesses right now.

“On the other hand, people looking for a job really limits that economic growth. We can have 150,000 open jobs in that state and businesses can’t find people to fill them. And a lot of them are high-paying, high demand jobs,” said Fitzgerald.

The labor gap worsened after the pandemic when someone could work remotely in Louisiana, for a business based in California. Several other factors also contribute to the shortage.

“Some people retired early when the stock market boomed. Some people at two-parent households, sometimes one parent didn’t go back to work because, with increased wages, they didn’t need to have a part-time job,” he explained.

A solution to the issue is to keep Louisiana talent in the state.

“We can help employers upgrade the skills of their existing workforce, thereby allowing them to hire new entry-level people and new employees and not have to incur all of those costs with training or backfilling positions,” said Cates.

“We need to emphasize sort of the positive nature of the capital region of Louisiana and focus on, you know, We need to kind of fight against that natural tendency for the highest educated with the highest skill sets to be the most mobile,” added Fitzgerald. “We need to emphasize sort of the positive nature of the capital region of Louisiana and focus on, you know, accommodating those high-skilled workers and getting them to want to stay here.”

For information on talent analyses in the Capital Region, click here.