Two items which don’t seem to make a lot of sense.
Louisiana has the second-best business growth potential in the country and the fourth-best overall business climate, according to Business Facilities’ 9th Annual Rankings Report. Though the full rankings won’t be released until early next month, some of the results have been made available in advance. Louisiana was ranked No. 5 for best business climate last year. The state actually fell from a No. 1 business growth potential ranking in 2012 to No. 2 this year. The state is also ranked No. 2 for natural gas production and No. 10 for lowest cost of labor in this year’s rankings. Louisiana “has steadfastly executed a diverse growth strategy that is nurturing new high-tech ventures while building on the Pelican State’s traditional strength in the oil and gas sectors,” says Business Facilities in its preview of the full rankings, which specifically spotlights strong showings by Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota, Washington and Utah. Also, LED’s FastStart workforce training program is once again named the nation’s best. This is the fourth straight year the FastStart program has taken top ranking. “Louisiana’s innovative workforce training effort remains the gold standard for this critical development requirement,” says Business Facilities’ Editor in Chief Jack Rogers.
If you’re the fourth-best state in the country for business climate, you ought to have a booming economy, no?
Well, no. From the Lake Charles American Press…
First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending July 13 increased from the previous week’s total.
The state labor department figures released Monday show 3,764 initial claims compared to 2,084 a week earlier.
The four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 2,975 from the previous week’s average of 2,763.
Continued unemployment claims claimed for the week ending July 13 increased to 26,467 compared to the previous week’s total of 25,008.
The four-week moving average of such claims increased to 25,354 from the previous week’s average of 24,859.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate for June 2013, which is the latest month published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 7.0 percent. That’s up more than a point from the 5.9 percent in January.
Those numbers are somewhat reflective of a trend which is counter to what’s been going on nationally – namely, that as the national labor participation rate stagnates or drops it’s actually increasing in Louisiana. In January, there were 2,093,600 people in the state’s labor force. In June, that number was 2,099,000. But unemployment in actual numbers has gone up – there were 124,300 unemployed in Louisiana in January and there were 146,800 in June.
And you can’t pin all of these numbers on layoffs in state and local government. The drop there has been from 348,200 in January to 343,800 in June, which is only 4,400 of the 17,200 jobs lost in that period. They reflect a soft private-sector job market.
In the fourth-best business climate in the country? That’s not supposed to happen.
Does this head-scratching scenario reflect the job-killing effects of Obamacare? Possibly.
What it’s really reflective of, though, is the fact that it’s almost impossible to grow your state’s economy when the national economy is stuck in Nowheresville.
This is what a depression looks like.