LED Highlights State Economic Successes in 2011, Adding a Fourth Record Year of Economic Development

Louisiana's 2011 business development wins projected to create more than 20,500 new jobs, $18 billion in capital investment

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Today, Louisiana Economic Development released a report detailing selected economic highlights for calendar year 2011.

LED Secretary Stephen Moret issued the following statement on Louisiana's economic performance over the last four years, including 2011:

"Since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office in early 2008, Louisiana's economy has outperformed the South and U.S. by any reasonable measure. For example, Louisiana's job performance has been better than that of nearly every other Southern state since January 2008, and employment levels in Louisiana have grown faster than the South and the U.S. since the end of the national recession.

"For the last three years in a row, U.S. Census figures indicate Louisiana's population has grown faster than the U.S., and our state has experienced four years in a row of net population in-migration. Additionally, Louisiana's unemployment rate has remained well below that of the South and the U.S. every month since January 2008.

"A variety of national publications recognized Louisiana's economic progress in 2011, ranking Louisiana as 'State of the Year,' LED as the best-performing state economic development organization in the U.S., LED FastStart® as the best state workforce training program in the U.S., and Louisiana's business climate as the most improved in the U.S.

"Louisiana now stands at its highest position ever on every national ranking of state business climates, including those published by Area Development, Beacon Hill Institute, Business Facilities, Chief Executive,CNBC, Forbes, Pollina Corporate Real Estate and Site Selection.

"Louisiana again produced a record year for business development, securing a variety of significant business development wins in both traditional industries and Louisiana's new target industry sectors, such as digital media and alternative energy.

"In 2011, LED secured game-changing projects that include Fortune 500 CenturyLink's headquarters expansion in Monroe; Gameloft's major game development studio in New Orleans; Ronpak's establishment of new manufacturing operations in Shreveport; multibillion-dollar expansions announced by Cheniere Energy and Sasol Ltd. in Southwest Louisiana; Schumacher Group's headquarters expansion in Lafayette; the Sundrop Fuels announcement of a biofuel refinery in Alexandria; and the Electronic Arts expansion of its global quality assurance center in Baton Rouge on the LSU campus.

"These are just a few examples of the business development wins that we secured in 2011. In fact, dozens of companies announced expansions or relocations in 2011 in Louisiana, launching projects that are projected to create more than 20,500 new direct and indirect jobs, $18 billion in new capital investment, and hundreds of millions of dollars in new sales for small businesses across Louisiana.

"As the national economy looks to continue its recovery in 2012, Louisiana is well-positioned to secure a large share of new business investment projects in the U.S. Additionally, Louisiana's economy will experience significant job growth from projects announced in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

"In the year ahead, LED will pursue targeted initiatives to enhance Louisiana's economic competitiveness; retain Louisiana's existing economic driver firms; support Louisiana's small businesses; cultivate attractive development sites; and recruit new growth industries to Louisiana.

Read LED's 2011 Economic Highlights report.