BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The forecast for Baton Rouge's economy in 2018 is positive, according to a new report released by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.
The report says the Baton Rouge area economy is continuing to improve despite the August 2016 flood. BRAC presented its 2018 Economic Outlook at an event Wednesday morning.
Knapp acknowledges that median household income for the area did decrease likely due to last year's flood but is optimistic the income levels would increase again over the next year. The median household income in the Baton Rouge area rose 22 percent between 2006 and 2016. During that time, incomes increased 19 percent nationally and only 15 percent for Louisiana.
Jobs in the Baton Rouge area grew by 2.2 percent through October 2017, surpassing the projected growth rate of 1.5 percent for the entire year. The organization anticipates 4,500 new jobs will come to the Baton Rouge area in 2018, meaning a job growth rate of one-point-one percent.The unemployment rate for the Baton Rouge area has dropped to 3.7 percent compared to the state's unemployment rate of 4.3 percent.
Carpenters, electricians, and registered nurses will be the jobs in the highest demand over the next year, the report says. There will be a modest demand for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, practical and vocational nurses, and those with high-technology skills such as computer programmers and software engineers.
The organization analyzes past trends in several economic factors to create the annual report. It also provides data on employment and revenue growth from local businesses.
BRAC also predicts the population of the Baton Rouge area will grow to around 840,000 by the end of the year and could increase to as high as 850,000 residents in 2018.