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Experts say Baton Rouge job numbers should rebound in 2021 | Business – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-01-14 15:01:00 –

The coronavirus pandemic caused Metro Baton Rouge to lose 10 years of jobs in a month, but local economic experts said these jobs needed to be restored by the end of 2021.

Adam Knapp, president and chief executive officer of the Baton Rouge Regional Chamber of Commerce, said at the Advocate Outlook 2021 Economic Summit on Thursday, he lost about 13.2% of jobs in the region between March and April 2020. Stated. Knapp was one of the five local experts who attended the online event.

As the economy slowly opened up during the summer, more people returned to work and businesses found ways to bring back workers and keep them safe. Approximately 32,000 jobs have recovered, according to Nap, but the region is still down about 5% from early March jobs. Baton Rouge has more leisure, hospitality, and construction jobs than the rest of the state, and they are slow-recovering areas.

One of the factors that could quickly boost job recovery is the combination of three large industrial construction projects that are projected to be awarded in 2021. The $ 1 billion Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation manufacturing facility Greater Baton Rouge Port at Grön Fuels’ renewable diesel facility Geysmer will eventually develop $ 9.2 billion and the ExxonMobil Refinery $ 240 million. It has the potential to be modernized.

“I’m optimistic about predicting job recovery this year, but I don’t take it for granted,” Nap said. He encourages SMEs to apply for the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program to keep their employees working.

Due to global uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic and reduced demand, petrochemical companies have cut capital spending and postponed regular maintenance. Fortunately, this work must be done, so there should be a strong backlash in 2021 and 2022, said Greg Upton, an associate professor at LSU’s Energy Research Center.

“Uncertainty is the enemy of large projects,” he said. “There are a lot of jobs I’m holding up for a pandemic.”

In Metro Baton Rouge, employment of petrochemicals decreased by 5.5% in 2020. Upton forecasts growth of 4.4% this year and employment in this sector is projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels by 2022.

“It was pushed back a bit more because of slow global demand and growth,” he said.

Keith Tillage, CEO of Tillage Construction LLC, said another factor in high unemployment is that relocated construction workers can make more money by staying at home than going out to the field. .. “It’s a problem we need to go back and deal with and make sure we’re paying the same living wages,” he said.

The pandemic disrupted the supply chain by closing down factories that manufacture building materials, in addition to on the sidelines of construction workers. Due to the lack of material, the project was delayed or canceled altogether.

“Many contractors were sitting on the sidelines to see what would happen,” Tillage said.

But now the opportunity is starting to take shape, and he expects the local construction industry to start accelerating by the end of 2021.

The pandemic is expected to reshape the healthcare and real estate sectors.

Due to air infections, hospitals are assessing air flow and expanding the use of negative pressure chambers to prevent contaminated air from flowing out when the door opens, said he is also Executive Vice President of Medical Services. Chief Dr. Stephanie Mills said. Louisiana Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medical Officer. Extending the operating room process to other high-risk sections of the hospital is also being considered.

Telemedicine was a big boost in 2020 as so many people switched to seeing a doctor online during the pandemic. “We have made 10 years of progress in a year because of our needs,” she said. We found that patients had experience in transforming telemedicine, received quality care, had good relationships with their doctors, and did not have to go to the office. It will lead to more health monitoring from home.

But the biggest key to the future of healthcare is what public health officials have said for months. Wear a mask, stay socially away from others, and wash your hands frequently.

“We need to do what we need to do and focus on the basics,” Mills said. With these things and the accelerated process of administering the vaccine, things could be more normal by the end of 2021.

People haven’t shopped in stores or traveled to hotels since the outbreak of the pandemic, said Ty Gose, a commercial sales and leasing agent at NAI Latter & Blum, which puts a lot of pressure on them. Sector.

Entrepreneurs are rocking the retail market and shifting to more delivery services. The hospitality industry is not expected to recover until 2022, Gose said.

One of the good things is that the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine will give some companies an idea of ​​when mitigation will be seen. This allowed some commercial landowners to go to lenders and say they needed help for another three to six months, Gose said.

“They have some help, but the business will be closed,” he said.

The impact on the office market is more cloudy. While the shift to teleworkers is on the rise, employers find it virtually difficult to hire and train workers as well as create a business culture. “People are leaning towards companies that have desks for them,” he said. “And for overall mental health, it’s good to get out of the house and be around others.” In the long run, this led to rethinking and redesigning of office spaces and crowded cubicles. It may keep workers away.

Low interest rates are forcing more people to buy homes, which can lead to vacancies in the apartment market.

The true darling of the real estate market is industrial space. The shift to more online shopping is integrating retail and industrial space, Gose said. Amazon plans to develop 4 million square feet of distribution and warehouse space in Baton Rouge and Lafayette by the end of next year.



Experts say Baton Rouge job numbers should rebound in 2021 | Business Source link Experts say Baton Rouge job numbers should rebound in 2021 | Business

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