Louisiana Ranks Second in South for Economic Development Results

Southern Business & Development magazine ranked Louisiana No. 2 for securing the best economic development performance in the South on a per capita basis. This is the 11th year in a row that Louisiana has ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the highly competitive category within the magazine’s annual SB&D 100 Top Deals and Hot Markets issue.

The magazine tracked the most significant capital investment and job-creation projects across the South, with states earning points for large employment projects and large capital-investment projects attracted during 2018. Louisiana earned 73.4 points-per-million, outperforming third-place Kentucky (70.0), fourth-place South Carolina (50.1) and fifth-place Mississippi (50.0). Only Alabama, at 79.7 points, performed at a higher level to earn State of the Year honors.

“The Southern Business & Development rankings confirm our success in creating great economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “By forming strategic public-private partnerships, by harnessing the capacity of our higher education systems, and by expanding training opportunities throughout our state, Louisiana is a trailblazer in the South for innovation and economic growth. I’m proud that we continue to attract leading employers, and I’m truly excited about the new career options and quality of life that we’re delivering in Louisiana today.”

In a record performance, Lake Charles earned its ninth consecutive Small Market of the Year honor for best economic development performance in cities of 50,000 to 250,000 people. New Orleans tied Nashville at No. 1 for Major Market of the Year among cities with 750,000 to 2.5 million people. Baton Rouge finished No. 3 in the Major Market category, ahead of Austin, Texas, and Louisville, Kentucky.

For State of the Year, Louisiana had the highest score among Honorable Mention states, which also included Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi and Virginia. As the state’s economic development agency, Louisiana Economic Development has guided efforts placing Louisiana as the only Southern state to rank in the Top 2 in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

“We are exceedingly proud of this accomplishment and our repeat performance of excellence as a state agency,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “This third-party validation of LED’s success communicates to our citizens and businesses, large and small, that Louisiana Economic Development is performing at an exceptional level. Our team includes talented project managers, effective marketing and communication personnel, community development experts and a strong cadre of personnel focused on supporting small businesses. Our nationally acclaimed workforce program – LED FastStart® – continues to support new and expanding industry. We have an Office of International Commerce that’s second-to-none in securing foreign direct investment for our state. Our legal department and fiscal division ensure strict accountability as we invest in public-private partnerships. Thanks to the strong support of our Governor, Legislature, other elected officials and economic development partners statewide, Louisiana is a leader among Southern states.”

Lake Charles easily secured the magazine’s designation as Small Market of the Year for the ninth consecutive year, outdistancing runners-up in Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama.

“The Lake Charles region has been a nationwide leader in the petrochemical and LNG industries for years; however, this latest run is unprecedented,” said SB&D Publisher Michael Randle. “Tens of billions of dollars have been invested in Southwest Louisiana in those nine years and the Lake Charles MSA has seen greater job growth than any market in America. The fracking frenzy has certainly benefited Southwest Louisiana’s economy in a grand way.”

George Swift, president and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, said the region enjoys natural resource advantages, but also has capitalized on those resources in a strategic way.

“Our success is due to regional cooperation and collaboration,” Swift said. “The Calcasieu Ship Channel, our port network including the Port of Lake Charles and Cameron Parish Port, a robust pipeline network, strong support by area elected officials, McNeese State University and SOWELA Technical Community College, and leadership and strong incentives from the State of Louisiana are some of the reasons for the success of Southwest Louisiana. The exciting part is that our region is not even halfway through major projects and expansions. The future is very bright for economic and job growth.”

In the Major Market of the Year category (metros of 750,000 to 2.5 million), New Orleans ranked No. 1 in a tie with Nashville, at 135 points. Baton Rouge ranked right behind them at No. 3 with 125 points. States and markets earn 10 points for projects within the Top 100 list for most investment and jobs, and five points for qualifying projects below the Top 100.

Louisiana’s performance in 2018 included diverse sectors and statewide impact. Examples include:

Accruent’s 350-job technology center in New Orleans.
CGI’s expansion from 400 to 800 software and IT jobs in Lafayette.
Venture Global’s $8.5 billion LNG complex and 300 jobs in Plaquemines Parish.

SCT&E LNG’s $8.3 billion project and 300 jobs in Cameron Parish.
Citadel Completions’ $17.6 million aerospace investment and 256 new direct jobs at Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles.

Catamaran Solutions’ 120-job industrial fabrication center and $2 million investment in Webster Parish.
Fibrebond’s $2.7 million capital investment and 250 new jobs, also in Webster Parish.

A $14.7 million expansion by Ternium USA retaining 150 jobs and resulting in 22 new jobs in Shreveport.

A $45 million expansion by P&G adding 26 new direct jobs and retaining over 560 jobs in Rapides Parish.

LaSalle Lumber’s $115 million capital investment and 115 new direct jobs at a new sawmill in LaSalle Parish.

BASF’s $150 million capital investment in MDI production, resulting in 85 new direct and indirect jobs that will join over 1,500 company and contractor jobs in Ascension Parish.

Marathon Petroleum’s $26.6 million capital investment and more than 1,500 retained jobs in St. John Parish.

Diversified Foods’ $12 million capital investment, 120 retained jobs and 44 new direct jobs in St. Tammany Parish.

Shintech’s $1.49 billion capital investment in chlor-alkali and vinyl chloride monomer production, along with 120 new direct jobs and 500 retained jobs in Iberville Parish.

Louisiana ranks among the leading business climates in multiple national rankings. The latest recognition by Southern Business & Development joins other economic development honors and recognition for the state, including a Top 10 business climate ranking for the ninth consecutive year by Site Selection magazine, a Top 10 ranking from Area Development magazine for the eighth straight year, and a No. 1 ranking for best state workforce training program from Business Facilities magazine for the ninth straight year. For more about the SB&D 100 report in Southern Business & Development, visit SB-D.com.

15 thoughts on “Louisiana Ranks Second in South for Economic Development Results

    • Yeah, but they tick me off, and then I tell a manager about it. Maybe one day one of them will take customer complaints seriously.

  1. High Crime; Poor School System; Catch-n-Release Justice System; Poor Workforce; High number of felons; High Sales Tax Rate; High Utility Rates for Business and Residents; Actual and Preceived Racism; Political Cronyism; Pay Rate of Men vs Women;

    Cronysim: “… the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications…”

    Result: High Failure Rate of businesses that open.

    In Natchitoches, not only will you not get a return on your investment, you may not even get your investment back!

    If industries like those shown in this article are studying Natchitoches, they will discover all of our issues and move to the next location on their list!

    Any Major business or industry looking to Natchitoches should run away until Natchitoches (City and Parish) gets its act together!

    • Ditto!! Well said. The cronyism will not stop as long as we let it go and say, that’s just the way it is!! It doesn’t have to be. They don’t want change, everyone they put in these positions will follow orders or they gone. It’s truly time for a change and that’s why I ran for City Council, but you know what happened with that. But I’ll be back!!!

    • Study after study has shown there is no reliable workforce here, not enough housing, and the school system is a failure. Companies cant get their upper management to move here and that’s a deal breaker. Contrary to popular opinion, they do not look at roads or potholes. There are numerous site ready places for businesses and industries. Talk to anyone at La Workforce & they will tell you they can’t get workers to show up. Talk to any business already here, same thing. Until we get our school system in shape and a handle on crime, (yes, there’s a correlation,) companies will not move here.

    • Two reasons. One, we haven’t built enough ball fields yet and two, our economic alliance with Shreveport has not kicked in yet, at least not for us.

      • What alliance with Shreveport?

        How many ball fields do you think we need? Or was that sarcasm?

    • First, not all the failings are Natchitoches’ fault. It’s very competitive out there. It is not easy to attract big business anywhere. They have choices and sometimes make demands that a community like ours simply can’t meet.

      That said, there is more Natchitoches could do, but don’t have the leadership in place. What it will take is a well-tuned combined effort from the city, parish, and NSU to focus on economic development. Even then it would be tough, but as it is with who is in charge, we have ZERO chance. The current leadership has no clue, and really, no interest in economic development, none, zilch, nada!

      Pack your bags and move to Lake Charles…or Austin, Texas.

      • I don’t understand why they can’t draw some kind of industry here are some kind of distribution hubs. Central part of the state,you have trains moving two directions, I-49 and the red River port. Companies like Walmart, Brookshires and all the dollar type stores have distribution centers in places all over in small towns. Plenty of land outside the city limits where it wouldn’t affect the down town tourest visitor. You don’t have to have a huge population of skilled workers for these jobs,but most are good paying job so…..

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