BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Southern Business & Development magazine ranked Louisiana No. 1 for the ninth consecutive year as the Southern state claiming the most economic development project wins per capita. The magazine tracked the most significant capital-investment and job-creation projects across the South, with states earning points for large employment projects (200 or more jobs) and large capital-investment projects ($30 million or more) attracted during 2016.
Louisiana led the region with the most points-per-million people at 84.4, outperforming second-place South Carolina (80.6) and third-place Alabama (65.8). Neither Louisiana nor Texas, the overall points leader, earned the 2017 State of the Year designation, which the publication awarded to South Carolina, based upon an analysis of that state’s 66 project wins in 2016. Louisiana, with 57 project wins, earned one of three Honorable Mention awards for State of the Year, along with Alabama (52 projects) and Kentucky (39 projects).
In addition to Louisiana’s state performance, Lake Charles earned the magazine’s designation as the Small Market of the Year for the fifth consecutive year, while New Orleans trailed the Honorable Mention awards winners in the Major Market of the Year competition by just five points.
“Each year, Southern Business & Development performs a thorough analysis of projects that drive the economies of states across the Southern United States,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “We’re proud that Louisiana recorded the top project for job creation in the South and the top two projects for capital investment in the South. We will continue to tout the natural resource and business climate advantages that Louisiana offers to industry. We are a low-cost state with a high-value workforce and a top-tier quality of life. These advantages make Louisiana a great place for our existing employers to expand, and a wonderful destination for new businesses to invest and create jobs.”
Ochsner Clinic Foundation’s Jefferson Parish expansion, which will create 3,227 jobs, led the publication’s top job-creating projects while two liquefied natural gas projects topped the leading investment projects: Tellurian’s $11.8 billion LNG project in Calcasieu Parish and Venture Global’s $8.5 billion LNG project in Plaquemines Parish.
The latest Southern Business & Development State of the Year results are published in the magazine’s SB&D 100 issue, which reports the Top 100 economic development deals across the South in both investment and job categories. Each state earns 10 points for projects within the investment and job Top 100 lists. Projects below the Top 100 that include at least 200 jobs or $30 million invested net five points each for their states.
Lake Charles (65 points) received the title of 2017 Small Market of the Year, which evaluates markets in the South with a population under 250,000 for their 2016 performance. In the 2017 Major Markets category, which ranks performance for metro areas of at least 750,000 but less than 2 million population, New Orleans (95 points) finished in fifth place just behind Honorable Mention winners Louisville, Kentucky, and Charleston, South Carolina (both with 100 points). Baton Rouge finished in eighth place in the Major Markets category with 75 points. The publication named Dallas-Fort Worth the Mega-Market of the Year, Nashville the Major Market of the Year, and Augusta, Georgia, the Mid-Market of the Year.
Louisiana ranks among the leading states for business climate in multiple national rankings. In addition to the 2017 recognition by Southern Business & Development, Louisiana ranks No. 5 in the Area Development Top States For Doing Business Report, No. 10 in this year’s Prosperity Cup by Site Selection magazine, and No. 7 in Site Selection’s Top U.S. Business Climates Report. Louisiana also ranks No. 10 in DCI’s Most Favorable Business Climate ranking.
Business Facilities ranked Louisiana among the Top 10 states in five separate economic development categories in its 2016 State Rankings Report, including a seventh consecutive year at No. 1 for LED FastStart® as the nation’s top state workforce training program.
For more about the 2017 State of the Year rankings and the SB&D 100 report in Southern Business & Development, visit www.sb-d.com.