BATON ROUGE, La. — Area Development magazine has recognized Louisiana for one of the nation’s best economic development performances in the past year by presenting the state with a 2020 Silver Shovel Award. The 2020 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards honor states that create the most significant impact from 10 leading investment and job creation projects during 2019.
This is the ninth time in 11 years that Louisiana has won Area Development’s Silver Shovel Award, following previous awards in 2018 and from 2010 through 2016. The magazine evaluates states, giving weighted scores for high-valued jobs per capita, the amount of investment, the number of new facilities, and industry diversity. Projects submitted by Louisiana represent more than $7.2 billion in capital investment and 1,800 new direct jobs.
“This award recognizes Louisiana’s longstanding ability to attract major investments and create quality jobs for our talented workforce,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Our economy continued to show good momentum again this year until the COVID-19 pandemic struck. We will put the strengths of our business climate to their best use as we move forward in the coming months. Thanks to Area Development for this welcome recognition.”
Louisiana’s projects included LHC Group’s 500-job home office expansion in Lafayette and Medline’s 464-job distribution center near Covington. Four of the year’s industry announcements featured large capital investment components: South Louisiana Methanol’s $2.2 billion methanol complex in St. James Parish, Valero/Diamond Green Diesel’s $1.5 billion alkylation and renewable diesel projects in Norco, a $1.4 billion investment by Methanex for a methanol plant in Geismar and Shell Chemical’s plans for a $1.2 billion manufacturing expansion at Geismar.
Other Louisiana projects include Bagwell Energy’s 240-job expansion at its Port of Delcambre fabrication center, ExxonMobil’s $469 million investment for a propylene manufacturing unit in Baton Rouge, Ernst & Young’s addition of 200 corporate jobs in New Orleans and SNF’s $375 million expansion for its polymer production plant in Plaquemine.
Louisiana’s economic development projects merited a 2020 Silver Shovel Award in the category for states of 3 million to 5 million people.
Area Development collected information from all 50 states on their top job creation and investment projects. The 2020 Shovel Awards reflect major projects that broke ground, began hiring or invested money in 2019.
The 2020 Silver Shovel Award joins other recent economic development honors and recognition for the state:
- In 2019, Louisiana ranked No. 2 for the second consecutive year in Southern Business and Development magazine’s ranking of Southern states for best economic development performance.
- Also last year, Area Development magazine ranked Louisiana No. 8 among Top States for Doing Business, its ninth consecutive year in the Top 10.
- Site Selection magazine ranked Louisiana’s business climate No. 10 in the U.S., the state’s 10th consecutive year in the Top 10.
- Business Facilities magazine ranked LED FastStart® the No. 1 state workforce development program for the 10th straight year in 2019.
- In October, Louisiana Economic Development’s Small Business Services team won the International Economic Development Council’s Gold Award for the profession’s best programs in entrepreneurship.
- Earlier this month, Louisiana had the second-best, one-year improvement of any state in Chief Executive’s rankings of Best and Worst States for Business. Louisiana moved up seven positions to No. 23, and has improved 14 positions since 2016.