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SWLA Crown Jewel of Louisiana Economic Growth

Posted by: Eric Cormier on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Earlier this month Site Selection magazine released its Governor’s Cup rankings and Louisiana ranked eighth on a per capita basis for states with the most new and expanded facilities during 2017.

According to a press release from Louisiana Economic Development (LED), “The Governor’s Cup measures the quantity of significant business development projects for the calendar year. Site Selection tallies the number of projects in a state that represent one or more of the following criteria: a minimum capital investment of $1 million, 20 or more new jobs created, and 20,000 square feet or more of new building space. Louisiana recorded 125 such projects in 2017. Overall for 2017, Louisiana ranked No. 4 in the South Central Region, after a No. 3 finish the prior year. On an absolute basis, Louisiana ranked No. 17 for Governor’s Cup project performance after placing No. 11 the prior year. The state has posted rankings in recent years that exceed its prior historical performance.”

Site Selection magazine is published by Conway Inc., and is the official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council. The magazine specializes reporting corporate real estate, economic development marketing, and expansion planning across the country.

Governor John Bel Edwards noted that the rankings prove the state has developed a reputation for being open for business.

“Today’s ranking in the Site Selection Governor’s Cup is confirmation of what we’ve always known: Louisiana is, and will always be, a welcoming, ideal location for new investment, and we remain poised and ready to compete for new projects. Louisiana’s Top 10 ranking affirms we are on the right track to create a strong business climate for new investments, new jobs for our people, and stronger communities for Louisiana families.”

When project totals are compiled going back to 2012, Louisiana has garnered $178.8 billion in capital investment projects. Of that number, $85 billion is under construction or in the engineering and permitting phase.

Southwest Louisiana is the crown jewel for industrial development within Louisiana. In 2017, Lotte Chemical announced it would move its company headquarters from Houston to Lake Charles along with the company’s $3 billion expansion.

Our region was featured in Site Selection this month.

Comments from Dr. Loren C. Scott, during his 2017 Louisiana Economic Outlook, were noted.

“Performance of the Lake Charles economy over the past four years reminds the author of that great grace in the 1973 Belmont Stakes won by Secretariat by 31 lengths. Like Secretariat, Lake Charles is far out in front of all the other MSAs in the state and is one of – if not the – fastest-growing MSA in the nation,” was Scott’s comment then.

America’s energy renaissance, spearheaded by liquefied natural gas production (along with petrochemical expansion), is what is driving our local economy.

Currently, $43.3 billion in construction is underway, with $65.4 billion in the proverbial pipeline.

By 2022, it is estimated that our region will see $108.7 billion in industrial related projects completed.

Scott estimates that a lull in construction will occur this year due to some projects being completed, but everything gets going all over again in 2019 as federal and state permits allow more projects to proceed.

“Lake Charles is the hotbed in the U.S. for LNG projects,” Scott told Site Selection. “I keep up with about nine other states in the southeast. The announcements in the Lake Charles area are probably 25 times larger than any of these other states.”

Added to that activity is the continued growth of the Port of Lake Charles which is expected to be ranked eighth in the nation in cargo volume.

Port Director Bill Rase reported that the facility will be the number two exporter of LNG in the world when all construction is completed.

Given the real time economic changes that all of us are observing, it should provide some sense of pride that opportunities in employment, entrepreneurship and education are being sparked.

There are difficulties, but growing pains are normal. Focus on the positives, because collectively (due to our populations resolve), the region and the state are top performers.

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