POSTED: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 6:30pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 6:34pm
BATON ROUGE, LA — The 2014-2015 Louisiana Economic Outlook was unveiled today at The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report’s annual Top 100 Luncheon.
The outlook was unveield by Professor Emeritus of Economics Loren Scott and Harris J. and Marie P. Chustz Endowed Professorship James Richardson of the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business
According to Scott, the 32nd edition of the Louisiana Economic Outlook, which is published by the college’s Division of Economic Development, contains “generally very good” news.
“We are optimistic,” Scott said. “Louisiana is just one of 12 states that has more people employed now than at the beginning of 2008.”
According to the Louisiana Economic Outlook, employment is expected to surpass the 2 million mark for the first time in the state’s history in 2015. Scott and Richardson do expect that growth to be uneven geographically, however, with regions below I-10 performing much better than the central and northern areas of the state.
Scott added that he expects varying growth rates for the eight largest metropolitan areas in the state. Most notably, the New Orleans MSA is projected to add about 11,000 jobs annually, with the Baton Rouge MSA jumping from 17,500 more jobs per year to 31,000 per year. The Lake Charles MSA is expected to add 7,800 new jobs over 2014-15, giving it the highest percentage rate of growth of the eight areas and the highest projected growth in its history.
Central to the projected growth in 2014-15 will be the continuation of oil exploration. Scott and Richardson predict that there will be a slight decline in oil prices, from $106 a barrel this year to $95 a barrel in 2015. In addition to this, the practice of “fracking” has made exploration more successful, which is projected to keep natural gas prices to stay near $4 per MMBTU.
“We cast a wary eye toward three key issues in the states future: how much money will be pumped into our economy via BP payments; will the new National Flood Insurance Program be restrained or fully implemented; and what will be the impact of the sequester and other cuts to the Defense Department budget on the state’s substantial military presence?” Scott said.
Copies of the Louisiana Economic Outlook are available for purchase for $75 by calling 225-578-5211 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.