Site Selection Mag Lauds Louisiana’s Business Climate

WWL Radio has the story today about how Louisiana’s economy is on fire…

Louisiana is now not only outperforming the rest of the south, but most of the nation according to a recent business magazine ranking.

The highest rankings ever for the state are translating to the New Orleans region, according to the man who’s in charge of the group that works on bringing new business here.  “And what we’re seeing now, for the very first time, is that companies, major companies, international companies are coming to us unsolicited and telling us that the New Orleans region is a finalist for consideration.”  Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc. says this is “a major change from a few years ago when we had to really actively go out, and sell, and convince people to even take a look.”

Site Selection magazine recently ranked Louisiana  #7 business climate in the country, the state’s highest ranking ever. The overall business climate ranking improves Louisiana’s standing from  #9 in 2010 and #25 in 2009.

In the half-dozen categories used to generate the business climate rankings, the magazine says, “Louisiana ranked #1 in the U.S. for per capita project expansions, #1 in competitiveness, and #3 in new projects attracted so far in 2011.”

High rankings like this put the metro on the radar of corporations looking for areas to expand according to Hecht.  “Our brand is changing and these rankings are really a major part of driving the change.”

The state’s economy is definitely outperforming most of the rest of the country. That doesn’t say much, but it certainly is a feather in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s cap.

The latest unemployment figures available are from September, and they indicate a growing economy all over the state…

Alexandria, 6.5 percent, down from 6.9 percent
Baton Rouge, 7.0 percent, down from 7.6 percent
Houma, 4.7 percent, down from 4.9 percent
Lafayette, 5.2 percent, down from 5.6 percent
Lake Charles, 6.1 percent, down from 6.6 percent
Monroe, 7.2 percent, down from 7.7 percent
New Orleans, 6.9 percent, down from 7.3 percent
Shreveport, 6.3 percent, down from 6.7 percent in August

The statewide unemployment number was 6.9 percent, which was down from 7.3 percent in August.

A 6.9 percent unemployment figure when the national number is 9.0 percent isn’t bad at all. Considering that there are very valid fears Louisiana’s largest economic driver, the oil and gas industry, is an endangered species thanks to bad regulatory activity from Washington, a 6.9 percent unemployment figure is almost a miracle.

Louisiana also was the most improved state in Site Selection’s ranking of top business climates in 2010 when the state jumped from #25 to #9.

According to Site Selection, this “ranking follows Louisiana’s highest-ever business climate ranking in September from Area Development magazine. That publication surveyed site selection consultants who collectively ranked Louisiana #6 in the magazine’s ‘Top States for Doing Business’ report. Over the last few years, Louisiana has moved up significantly in every national ranking of state business climates, including those published by Area Development, Beacon Hill Institute, Business Facilities magazine, Chief Executive magazine, CNBC, Forbes, Pollina Corporate Real Estate and Site Selection.”

Louisiana now stands at its highest-ever position on every national ranking of state business climates according to Site Selection. “Three of those national rankings (Area Development, Business Facilities and Site Selection) now rank Louisiana among the top ten states for business in the U.S. Since 2008, Louisiana Economic Development has secured economic development projects that are creating more than 45,000 new jobs, more than $10 billion in capital investment and hundreds of millions of dollars in new sales for small businesses across the state.”

We’re down on Jindal at present, and we’ll probably never get over his betrayal of conservatism in giving John Alario the senate presidency. That said, Jindal deserves credit for putting the state’s economy on a decent footing.

He’s doing it. His actions aren’t perfect, but at least he’s not in the way of economic growth like his predecessors constantly were.

And that’s not a myth, as much as Melinda Deslatte might want to make it one.

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