Louisiana is predicted to enter a period of economic brightness during the next two years, and for the first time in its history, the state will likely surpass the 2 million employment mark.

The Baton Rouge metro area is expected to add more than 21,000 new jobs as a result of the recent industrial and petrochemical boom, according to the 2014-15 Louisiana Economic Outlook released Oct. 16 by Loren Scott.

Louisiana Economic Outlook predicts a 5.6 percent job increase in the Capital Region from the boom.

Scott and local economists have been working for 30 years to compile this report.

“The authors have been monitoring the Baton Rouge economy for 40 years,” the report states. “We have never seen an industrial expansion like the one underway in [the Capital Region].”

Additionally, the report predicts the Capital Region will add 12,500 jobs next year and another 9,200 in 2015.

While the future looks bright for Louisiana’s economy, the report mentions a job growth over the next two years could potentially create a worker shortage, namely because the demand for contract workers will increase by 77 percent in one year, and finding people to fill these jobs and places to house them will present a challenge.

Executive Director of the Louisiana Business and Technology Center Charles D’Agostino said while Baton Rouge has many assets that contribute to the city’s predicted economic brightness, LSU is a huge factor.

“The Baton Rouge community is fortunate to have two universities, state government, the port, strong oil and gas developments and the vast petrochemical complexes along the river,” D’Agostino said. “Couple this with the assets of LSU and the economic engine of the LSU Innovation Park and the Louisiana Business and Technology Center, Baton Rouge will continue to lead the region in job creation, business development and industrial expansion.”

These efforts have resulted in a strong, diversified economic base for the region, he said.

D’Agostino added that the Louisiana Business and Technology Center created more than 10,000 jobs in its 25-year history and has worked with the LSU administration and researchers to focus research on technology commercialization.

“This trend will expand greatly in the future and LSU will continue to be the catalyst for future economic growth,” D’Agostino said.

The report also states that this predicted economic prosperity will expand to all eight Louisiana metro areas.

Staff Writer