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(mgnonline.com)

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Editorial: More good business news for state

Last Modified: Monday, July 29, 2013 5:42 PM

Stellar business news continues to flow seemingly unabated for Louisiana.

The latest comes from Southern Business & Development magazine which named our state and Texas as Co-State of the Year for 2013 recipients.

And Louisiana is no flash in the pan. The Bayou State has won or shared the magazine’s No. 1 ranking four of the past five years.

Southwest Louisiana had a significant role in Louisiana’s ranking. Lake Charles placed second for Mid-Market of the Year honors, behind Northern Kentucky and ahead of Columbia, S.C.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Charleston, S.C.; and Huntsville-Decatur, Ala. In the Major Market of the Year category, Baton Rouge and New Orleans placed first and second, respectively.

The magazine noted the coming Sasol gas-to-liquids and ethane-cracker complex in Westlake, Sempra’s refit of its LNG terminal in Cameron Parish for export and Magnolia LNG’s planned export facility on the Industrial Canal for helping spur Louisiana to the top ranking.

Southern Business & Development also said Louisiana set a record among southern states for the most points per million residents. The magazine awards points to states for economic development projects that will generate $30 million or more in capital investment, projects that will create 200 or more jobs, and projects that rank among the 100 largest in the South for jobs and/or capital investment.

“Over the past five years, we have secured new economic development projects that are resulting in more than 63,000 new jobs and more than $28 billion in new capital investment for Louisiana,” said Gov. Bobby Jindal. “We have risen significantly in every national ranking of states for economic development or business climate. This is certainly great news, but we won’t stop building on our successes.”

That $28 billion new capital investment figure pales in comparison to the estimated $47 billion in capital investment that is penciled in for Southwest Louisiana over the course of the next five years.

Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret noted that while much of the country still struggles to emerge from the throes of the recession, our state is only one of 14 that have enjoyed a net gain in jobs since the beginning of 2008.

“Louisiana’s job performance ranks seventh best in the U.S. and second best in the South in that time period,” said Moret.

The good news, according to Moret, is the state has yet to peak. He says major manufacturing projects like Sasol, Benteler Steel/Tube and Nucor, software development, deepwater oil and gas exploration, and increased drilling activity for natural gas in the Haynesville Shale and Tuscaloosa Trend should catapult the state’s economy and job growth higher.

At the rate of this business upswing, Louisiana may well be on its way to retiring Southern Business & Development magazine’s trophy.

• • •

This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.

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