Our five-parish region continues to lead the state in job growth. In fact, The Lake Charles MSA has the fastest job growth for medium size markets in the United States, according to Business Facilities Magazine. Our region was named the Small Market of the Year for the eighth year in a row by Southern Business Development Magazine.
In his annual economic forecast, Dr. Loren Scott, LSU Economist Emeritus, has again projected our region to be the fastest growing in the state over the next two years.We are getting recognition because of the large industrial projects which are creating jobs. In 2012, the civilian workforce in Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes was 89,500. In July of 2018, the civilian workforce was at 117,800, a whopping 31.6 percent increase.
As we wrap up this year, construction is at full speed at Sasol, Lotte, and Cameron LNG to name a few major projects. At Cheniere LNG, four of the trains are complete and they are exporting LNG worldwide. Train five should be operational in 2019. There is also the possibility of a sixth train at Cheniere, which has made over 300 shipments from their Johnson Bayou site.
Entergy has two large projects for this area. And there are several others.
SW La. has $44 billion in current construction projects. There is another $65 billion in announced projects. This totals $109 Billion, which leads the nation.
These projects will create over 18,000 permanent jobs as the construction phases are completed.
It is expected that at least three new LNG facilities will begin construction in 2019. On the aviation front, Citadel Completions began operations at Chennault International Airpark.
2018 was a good year for the SWLA Business Incubator at The SEED Center. WAITR grew out of our facility and moved into commercial space downtown.
The start-up restaurant and grocery delivery firm was sold for $308 million and the company has now gone public. This is one of the biggest incubator successes in the nation.
The business incubator is currently home to 20 clients employing about 57 full-time and 27 part-time workers.
The annual Business Pitch contest was held in April and another contest is set for April 25, 2019 for all would-be entrepreneurs.
The Alliance has also been busy working to establish certified industrial sites in our region. A certified site is “shovel ready” with known obstacles and remedies identified. The latest site announced is at Lake Charles Regional Airport. This brings the total number of sites in our five parishes to nine. This year also saw approximately 12,000 acres along I-10 in the Vinton Area re-zoned to light industrial. The process to certify most of this property will begin soon.
This land could be the future area of expansion for our region with assembly and distribution centers as possibilities. One of the sites in our five parishes is the 1,187 acres Mega Site at The Beauregard Airport. If you have property that could be a potential industrial site, contact Gus Fontenot at the Alliance at (337) 433- 3632.
2018 was another year for the record books in SW La.’s economy. Our goal at the Alliance is to provide opportunity for all so that current and future generations will want to make our five parishes home.