Southern Business & Development: Louisiana Ranks No. 2 in South for Economic Development Results

BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Southern Business & Development magazine ranked Louisiana No. 2 in the South for the strongest economic development results during 2017, based on the state’s share of leading capital investment and job creation projects. Kentucky ranked No. 1 in the State of the Year competition, with the publication selecting Louisiana (No. 2), South Carolina (No. 3) and Alabama (No. 4) for Honorable Mention recognition. The rankings are part of the 2018 SB&D 100 Top Deals & Hot Markets report, which measures how states perform in attracting major economic development projects.

In addition to Louisiana’s state performance, Lake Charles secured the magazine’s designation as the Small Market of the Year for the eighth consecutive year, while Baton Rouge earned Honorable Mention recognition in the Major Market of the Year competition.

“With Louisiana’s highly skilled workforce, low-cost business environment and top-tier quality of life, it comes as no surprise that our state remains a leader in attracting significant economic development projects,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Through a deep analysis of projects and economic climate, Southern Business & Development’s ranking shines a spotlight not only on our outstanding statewide performance, but on specific projects like DXC Technology and Lotte Chemical that are leading the way, as well as the continued economic strength of Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana. Working with bipartisan support, we are building a stronger fiscal foundation for our future, and I fully expect Louisiana’s success to continue.”

DXC Technology’s Digital Transformation Center in the New Orleans Central Business District, which will create 2,000 new direct jobs, secured the No. 7 spot among the publication’s top job-creating projects, while six other projects landed in the Top 20 for leading capital investment projects, including Lake Charles LNG’s $10.9 billion project; Lotte Chemical’s $1.1 billion MEG plant and headquarters project, also in Lake Charles; Wanhua Chemical’s $1.12 billion polyurethanes project on the Mississippi River; and Energy World Corp.’s $800 million LNG production and export facility in Lafourche Parish.

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 2017.

Louisiana earned 77.1 points per million, outperforming third-place South Carolina (63.0) and fourth-place Alabama (61.2). Kentucky secured the No. 1 ranking with 96.5 points per million. 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 (80 points) received the title of 2018 Small Market of the Year, which evaluates markets in the South with a population under 250,000. Lake Charles’ nearest competition was Tennessee’s Jackson-Humboldt region, with 40 points, and Florence, South Carolina, and Decatur, Alabama, with 25 points each. In the 2018 Major Markets category, which ranks performance for metro areas of at least 750,000 but less than 2.5 million population, Baton Rouge earned 90 points, and finished just behind co-Major Markets of the Year Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee, with 105 points each. The publication named Dallas-Fort Worth the Mega-Market of the Year, and Macon, Georgia, the Mid-Market of the Year.

Louisiana ranks among the leading states for best business climate in multiple national rankings. The 2018 recognition by Southern Business & Development joins other economic development honors and recognition for the state:

  • Area Development magazine awarded Louisiana a 2018 Silver Shovel Award for posting one of the best economic development performances in 2017.
  • Area Development magazine also ranked Louisiana as a Top 5 state for doing business for the second year in a row in 2017.
  • Site Selection magazine ranked Louisiana’s business climate No. 10 in the U.S., the state’s eighth consecutive year in the Top 10.
  • Business Facilities magazine ranked LED FastStart® the No. 1 state workforce development program for the eighth straight year.
  • Business Facilities also ranked Louisiana as the No. 1 state in the nation for Cybersecurity Growth Potential.

For more about the 2018 State of the Year rankings and the SB&D 100 report in Southern Business & Development, visit

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