Last Modified: Thursday, January 23, 2014 11:04 AM
Lake Charles ranked No. 31 in the nation on a list of metropolitan cities’ expected growth, topping all other major cities in the state, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The study, done by IHS Global Insight, ranked cities based on gross metropolitan product and annual job growth. The firm makes predictions for the upcoming year.
Lake Charles is expected to grow 3.7 percent in 2014, benefiting from the more than $62 billion in announced capital investments in Southwest Louisiana.
Other Louisiana cities and their rankings: New Orleans, 54; Houma, 97; Baton Rouge, 133; Monroe, 213; and Lafayette, 361. Shreveport-Bossier City came in last at 363.
The report stresses the importance of regional economic development, said Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach.
“It’s validation of how we’ve shifted economic development occurring only in the confines of the community,” Roach said Wednesday. “This reinforces the decisions we made to move toward regional collaboration.”
Lake Charles also placed above other Louisiana cities on the list — 42nd — for improved employment growth and unemployment rates. Workforce development officials in Southwest Louisiana have predicted 20,000 construction jobs, 5,000 permanent jobs and 8,000 indirect jobs over the next five years.
The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance has been able to work with business and industry prospects in the area and the state, Roach said.
“We’re experiencing the dividends for that,” he said. “It’s all part of a larger piece of the puzzle. This is a good thing for our area.”
According to the report, Lake Charles’ GMP decreased 7.2 percent in 2011, but increased 2.5 percent in 2012 and 3.1 percent in 2013.