Southern Business & Development: Louisiana No. 1 in Several Major Business Projects Per Capita

BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Southern Business & Development magazine ranked Louisiana No. 1 among Southern states for attracting the most significant capital investment and job-creation projects per capita for the seventh year in a row. States earn points for large employment projects (200 or more jobs) and large capital investment projects ($30 million or more) attracted during 2015. Louisiana led the region with the most points-per-million at 114.9, easily outdistancing second-place Tennessee (82.0) and third-place Alabama (73.4). Texas and Louisiana ranked No. 1 and No. 2 overall in total points, but the publication awarded the 2016 State of the Year designation to the No. 3 points leader, Tennessee, in part because of the variety of industry sectors that invested and created jobs in the state.

Louisiana, which has ranked No. 1 in the South for seven straight years in the points-per-million category, has earned State or Co-State of the Year honors from Southern Business & Development six times in the past 10 years. In addition to Louisiana’s top-ranked 2016 performance, Lake Charles earned the magazine’s designation as the 2016 Small Market of the Year, while New Orleans and Baton Rouge earned honorable mention recognition for top markets of the year.

“Louisiana remains a leading destination for companies planning expansions or new investments, and today’s recognition from Southern Business & Development validates the confidence we have in our state’s ability to sustain a strong business climate and attract new job-creation projects,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “From IBM in Monroe to Axiall and Lotte in Lake Charles, we are creating an environment that encourages new development and provides opportunities so that Louisiana residents can find quality jobs and build great careers in the place they call home.”

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.

Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said the latest SB&D results confirm Louisiana’s attractiveness for existing employers who are expanding in the state and for new out-of-state investors, including significant foreign direct investment projects.

“We are exceedingly proud of Louisiana’s track record as one of the top economic development states in the South for the past decade, with Louisiana having won the Southern Business & Development State of the Year honor as far back as 2007 and as recently as 2014,” Pierson said. “We’re particularly proud of the performance of our regional markets, and LED is working hard to strengthen our cohesion with partners all across the state. Louisiana’s brand as a highly competitive state is well-known, with a strategic infrastructure, sound business climate and dynamic workforce. In particular, the outstanding performance of our LED FastStart® team has been a real differentiator for Louisiana.”

Business Facilities has honored LED FastStart® as the nation’s No. 1 workforce training program for the past six years in a row. Business Facilities also ranked Louisiana No. 3 in the publication’s 2015 ranking of state business climates.

“We’ve really connected with what today’s expanding companies need most in their workforce,” said Jeff Lynn, LED’s executive director of workforce programs. “With LED FastStart, our approach allows us to fully evaluate an employer’s culture and project needs. We apply that deep knowledge to powerful, professional recruitment, screening, training and orientation tools. The result is that companies expanding in Louisiana can launch a project with a workforce that’s fully trained from day one and much better prepared than the company could have accomplished on its own.”

Lake Charles (115 points) received the title of 2016 Small Market of the Year, which evaluates markets in the South with a population under 250,000. In the 2016 Major Market of the Year category, which ranks performance for metro areas with population of at least 750,000 but less than 2 million, New Orleans (175 points) and Baton Rouge (45) joined Knoxville, Tennessee (100), as honorable mention winners.

Louisiana earned honorable mention State of the Year honors with a wide variety of project announcements in 2015, such as IBM’s 400-job Client Innovation Center in Monroe; EPIC Piping’s 560-job advanced pipe fabrication facility and corporate headquarters in Livingston; Monster Moto’s minibike and go-cart manufacturing plant in Ruston; Formosa Petrochemical Corp.’s potential $9.4 billion industrial complex in St. James Parish; and the combined $3 billion investment by Axiall and Lotte Chemical for new chemical manufacturing plants in Lake Charles.

In four national business climate rankings – those published by Area Development, Business Facilities, Site Selection and international location marketing firm DCI – Louisiana now ranks among the Top 10 states in the U.S. This year, Big Four accounting and consulting firm KPMG ranked Louisiana as the most competitive state in the U.S. for business costs while its three largest cities – New Orleans (No. 4 for lowest costs), Baton Rouge (No. 2) and Shreveport (No. 1) – rank among the most cost-competitive cities in the Southeast U.S.

For more about the 2016 State of the Year rankings and the SB&D 100 report in Southern Business & Development, visit

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