LC tops national list for job growth
The Lake Charles metro area has experienced the highest percentage job growth over the past five years, at 28.3 percent, or 24,482 new jobs, according to 24/7 Wall St.
The report ranked Lake Charles above 30 other cities nationwide. Its job growth is nearly four times the national rate of 7.2 percent.
More than 15,700 new jobs in the Lake Charles metro area were in the mining, logging and construction industries. The median household income is $52,314. Unemployment in Lake Charles was 4.2 percent as of August, the only metro area statewide to have unemployment below 5 percent.
George Swift, Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance president and CEO, said the ranking is the result of $44 billion in industrial projects already underway.
"It’s a good indication of what we’ve been saying; our market is leading the nation in growth," he said.
Another $65 billion in industrial projects have been announced for the region. Economist Loren Scott said in September that Venture Global LNG, Driftwood LNG and Magnolia LNG are the most likely to start construction. Once those projects get underway, Swift said it will create thousands of new construction jobs and "keep the momentum" going economically.
Swift said the industrial projects also create a ripple effect that increases demand in other businesses.
"As more people are here it creates a need for more medical services, retail and food establishments and grocery stores," he said. "You’re seeing the results of increased population growth."
While many of the new jobs are temporary construction, Swift said there will be new permanent jobs once the facilities are done. He said 18,000 new permanent jobs that are projected over the next several years from the announced industrial expansion projects.
"When you are seeing houses and apartments being built, these are for the permanent workers," Swift said.
Results from the report came from reviewing overall employment change in metro areas nationwide from August 2013 to last August. The information came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.