BATON ROUGE, LA (KMSS) — The Louisiana Economic Development released a report detailing selected economic highlights for calendar year 2013.
LED Secretary Stephen Moret issued the following statement on Louisiana’s economic performance over the last six years, including 2013:
“Since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office in early 2008, Louisiana’s economy has outperformed the South and U.S. by any reasonable measure. For example, Louisiana’s job performance has been better than that of nearly every other Southern state since January 2008, and the unemployment rate here consistently has remained less than that of the South and U.S. overall.
“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, since January 2008, the U.S. has shed 0.9 percent of its jobs and the South has experienced a slight decline in employment. In contrast, Louisiana’s employment is up 1.7 percent during that same period of time. Louisiana is one of only 17 states (excluding Washington, D.C.) that have experienced employment gains since January 2008.
“Since January 2008, Louisiana has added 50,800 private-sector jobs. With a private-sector job growth rate of 3.2 percent during that time period, our state ranks fourth best in the nation (excluding D.C.) and second best in the South.
“Population data released by the U.S. Census earlier today indicates that Louisiana’s population growth has been about 15.5 percent faster than that of the U.S. over the last six years. Allied Van Lines released a report earlier today indicating that more people moved into Louisiana than left Louisiana in 2013.
“A variety of national publications recognized Louisiana’s continued economic development progress in 2013. For example, Chief Executive reported that CEOs nationwide ranked Louisiana as the most improved state for business over the last four years. Site Selection ranked Louisiana No. 6 in its business climate report, while Area Development also ranked Louisiana No. 6 among the Top States for Doing Business. Business Facilities ranked Louisiana No. 4 for the Best Business Climate in America, as well as No. 1 in the U.S. for State Workforce Development programs, highlighting LED FastStart® as the nation’s top program for the fourth consecutive year. Pollina Corporate Real Estate recognized LED as tied for the best-performing state economic development agency in the U.S.
“Louisiana had its best year for business development in the last six years, securing more retained jobs, more new jobs and more capital investment than in any of the previous five years. Louisiana announced dozens of company expansions or relocations in 2013, launching projects that will result in about 27,000 new jobs and $26.4 billion in new capital investment, along with hundreds of millions in new sales for small businesses across Louisiana.
“Noteworthy project examples include AAR Corp.’s 750-job aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operation in Lake Charles; Bell Helicopter’s 115-job assembly facility in Lafayette, which will be Louisiana’s first modern-era aircraft assembly facility; CB&I’s relocation of 400 professional jobs around the country to Baton Rouge; Rain CII’s 71-job corporate headquarters relocation from Houston to Covington; Gulf Coast Spinning’s 307-job manufacturing facility in Bunkie; Lockheed Martin’s 166-job LNG tank manufacturing operation at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans; and IBM’s 800-job technology center in downtown Baton Rouge, which already has catalyzed a sharp jump in enrollment in LSU’s computer science program.
“Additionally, Louisiana’s film/television industry experienced an all-time record level of economic activity, with nearly $810 million in audited expenditures.
“In 2014, Louisiana will be well positioned to secure a healthy share of new business investment projects in the U.S. Moreover, Louisiana’s economy will experience significant job growth from projects announced in 2008 through 2013 that have not yet fully ramped up.
“In the year ahead, LED will pursue targeted initiatives to enhance Louisiana’s economic competitiveness; retain Louisiana’s existing economic driver firms; support Louisiana’s small businesses; cultivate attractive development sites; offer world-class, customized workforce solutions, and partner with LCTCS to address growing industrial craft labor training needs; ramp up efforts to secure more foreign direct investment (FDI); and recruit new growth industries to Louisiana. LED also will continue its aggressive efforts to position Louisiana to benefit from the advent of low, stable natural gas prices more than any other state in the U.S.
“Even with employment in Louisiana now at an all-time high, the best is yet to come. In fact, we now have so many jobs on the way, from industrial craft labor to manufacturing operations to software development to engineers, that our biggest challenge may be ramping up all the training and higher-education programs required to meet the growing demands of the labor market.”