BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Southern Business & Development recognized Louisiana as the 2014 State of the Year in the publication’s 15-state region, marking the fifth time in the past six years Louisiana has earned either State of the Year or Co-State of the Year honors in the South. In addition, Baton Rouge earned the 2014 Major Market of the Year honor, while Lake Charles, Louisiana, received the 2014 Mid-Market of the Year title.
Louisiana earned Southern Business & Development’s 2014 State of the Year honor in the points-per-million category, which ranks states by how many large employment (200 or more jobs) and capital investment ($30 million or more) projects they attracted in 2013. The publication named Texas as 2014 State of the Year for total points, without regard to population, and Louisiana scored No. 2 in that ranking. Louisiana and Tennessee shared State of the Year honors in 2009 and 2010, while Louisiana earned State of the Year alone in 2011. After North Carolina claimed State of the Year in 2012, Louisiana and Texas have shared State of the Year honors the past two years.
Gov. Bobby Jindal said, “In 2008, we took office with the goal of making Louisiana the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family. Today, we have further proof that we are succeeding in making that dream become reality. We truly are making Louisiana the best place in America for new business investment and job creation. More people are working today in Louisiana than ever before. More people are finding quality jobs and great career opportunities in Louisiana than ever before. And that means our young people will not have to leave the state they love to find a good job.
“Being named State of the Year or Co-State of the Year by Southern Business & Development in five of the past six years is a tremendous accomplishment. But we know that we have more work to do. We are committed to working harder than ever to show the world that Louisiana is the new frontier for business opportunity.”
Southern Business & Development’s State of the Year honors are published in its SB&D 100 issue, which reports the Top 100 economic development deals of the South in 2014. Each state earns 10 points for each project within the Top 100. Projects outside the Top 100 that include 200 or more jobs created or $30 million or more invested net five points each for their states.
Several Louisiana metro markets also earned SB&D honors in 2014. Baton Rouge’s 2014 Major Market of the Year honor reflects the top performance for metro areas of 750,000 to 2 million population. In fact, Baton Rouge’s 240 points outperformed all mega-markets in the South (metros of 2 million or more), including Houston (200 points), Dallas-Fort Worth (175 points) and Atlanta (110 points).
“The amount of capital being spent in the New Orleans to Baton Rouge industrial corridor and over in Southwest Louisiana is mind-boggling,” Editor and Publisher Mike Randle writes in the SB&D 100 issue. “But it’s not just petrochemicals thriving in Louisiana. The 800-job IBM software design project in Baton Rouge is impressive. Baton Rouge earned more points (240) than any other market in the South, including mega-markets such as Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth.”
New Orleans (100 points) joined Charlotte, North Carolina (110 points), and Nashville, Tennessee (100 points), as honorable mention winners in the Major Market of the Year competition. For the 2014 Mid-Market of the Year title, Lake Charles placed first with 70 points while Shreveport, Louisiana (45 points), joined Knoxville, Tennessee (45 points), and Corpus Christi, Texas (40 points), as honorable mention selections.
For the 2014 State of the Year award, Louisiana earned the most points per million residents with a score of 112.5 points, easily outdistancing second-place Tennessee (53.8) and third-place Kentucky (52.3). Texas, which scored the most points in the South overall, ranked No. 10 on the points-per-million scale with 31.3 points.
Louisiana earned State of the Year honors with a wide variety of project announcements and expansions in 2013, such as Bell Helicopter’s 115-job Jet Ranger X assembly facility in Lafayette, Louisiana, which will be the state’s first modern-era aircraft assembly facility; Gulf Coast Spinning Company’s 307-job cotton spinning facility in Bunkie, Louisiana; IBM’s 800-job technology center in downtown Baton Rouge; Dow Chemical Company’s $1 billion expansion in Plaquemine, Louisiana; and the 740-job Teleperformance expansion in Shreveport.
The Southern Business & Development annual SB&D 100 issue places the state and metro rankings within the context of the 100 biggest, job-creating projects of the year. The 2014 SB&D 100 is the 20th anniversary of the publication’s annual report, and Louisiana – on the strength of its recent performance – owns the strongest performance in the South over the past two decades, with Texas and Alabama tied at No. 2.
Louisiana now ranks higher in every national business-climate ranking than it ever did prior to 2008. In four national business climate rankings – those published by Area Development, Business Facilities, Chief Executive and Site Selection – Louisiana now ranks among the Top 10 states in the U.S.
Since January 2008, Louisiana has secured economic development projects that are resulting in more than 83,000 new jobs, more than $54 billion in new capital investment and hundreds of millions of dollars in new sales for small businesses across the state.
Business Facilities has honored LED FastStart® as the nation’s No. 1 workforce training program for the past four years in a row. Site Selection named LED the best-performing state economic development agency in the nation in 2011, and Pollina Corporate Real Estate ranked LED as tied for the best-performing state economic development agency in the nation in 2013.
For more about the 2014 State of the Year rankings in Southern Business & Development, visit www.sb-d.com.