Last Modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 11:52 AM
Major LNG expansions and other potential projects could spark the largest construction boom in Lake Charles’ history, creating more than 5,100 jobs over the next two years — a growth of 5.7 percent, according to economic consultant Loren Scott.
But overcoming the backlash of the national recession will be the region’s toughest hurdle, Scott told area business leaders at the Louisiana Economic Outlook presentation Wednesday at the Civic Center.
Because of the “great recession,” the Lake Charles metropolitan statistical area experienced a major economic decline for three consecutive years — a total decline of 6.6 percent, which was worse than the national 6.1 percent.
Of the eight MSAs in Louisiana, the recession hurt Lake Charles the most except for Alexandria, which was hit the hardest. But Scott said the region saw an immense recovery in 2012 in the business sector.
For now, the Lake Charles MSA — comprising Calcasieu and Cameron parishes — will continue to thrive for three reasons: its petrochemical industry, gambling and the aircraft repair sector, Scott said in his report.
Scott used Sasol’s expansion and the groundbreaking on the $500 million Ameristar Casino as examples of growth. He also commended efforts by the Port of Lake Charles and Chennault International Airport Authority to cultivate the potential for an economic boom.
In his report, Scott posed the question “Is this big of a boom possible?”
“What we have tabulated for this region is about $6.5 billion in construction projects that we know of that are either underway or officially announced,” Scott’s report reads. “This alone is a historically high figure for this region. But what is mind boggling is the potential — what we have estimated at a remarkable $28.1 billion in projects.”
“I’ve never known a time in my career when there has been so many potential big projects,” Scott said.
Scott also said Southwest Louisiana is the third-fastest-growing area in the state.
“Right now we show Lake Charles getting back all the jobs lost during the Great Recession,” he said. “The state, in general, looks good but not nearly as good as Lake Charles.”
He said that if you think of Lake Charles as a big economic ship trying to sail forward, the sluggish national economy is the anchor holding it back.
Posted By: Bobby Jindal On: 10/18/2012
Loren Scott is a legend in his own mind