Louisiana’s Economic Growth Outpaces 40 States

Published 1:14 pm Thursday, December 14, 2023

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Victor Skinner
The Center Square

Louisiana’s gross domestic product jumped 3.2% in the second quarter of 2023, faster than 40 other states, though experts contend the data doesn’t tell the whole story.

Figures released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Tuesday show Louisiana’s gross domestic product 3.2% bump in the second quarter outpaced 40 other states, including all states east of the Mississippi River except West Virginia at 3.6%.

The growth in Louisiana compared to declines in neighboring Mississippi of 1.8% and Arkansas at negative 0.4%, while Texas was up 4.9%. The national average GDP growth was 2.1%. The rate increased in 46 states and the District of Columbia in the second quarter, ranging from 8.3% in Kansas to negative 4.3% in North Dakota.

Gov. John Bel Edwards touted Louisiana’s top-10 growth rate as “yet another sign that our hard work is paying off.”

“We have the lowest unemployment rate in state history. We have increased capital investment every year since 2017, including three consecutive years of more than $20 billion for the first time in our state’s history,” he said in a . “And our economic growth is expected to continue. Economist Loren Scott recently predicted that Louisiana will add 80,000 more jobs in 2024 and 2025 thanks to our success positioning Louisiana as a leader in the global energy transition.”

Vance Ginn, economist with the Pelican Institute, told The Center Square there is more to the numbers in Louisiana that’s not obvious in the bureau data.

“When you look into the contributions of real GDP … the government portion increased by 0.1%, so if you subtract that off because government really is just a redistribution of money from the private sector, the real private economy increased by 3.1%,” he said.

“That shows there’s still some weakness out there, but the economy was growing,” Ginn said. “The contributions really were from oil and gas activity, mining activity, durable goods in the manufacturing sector and professional business services, while there were a lot of other industries and sectors that declined in the second quarter.”

Ginn said those declines are a “cause for concern” that became apparent in October, when “there were job losses across Louisiana.

“That’s something we really need to be watching moving forward,” he said. “There’s a lot more room for better policies to support more economic growth of less government spending, … putting income taxes on a path to elimination, and reducing regulations.”

“That’s the way to really make sure we have a comeback story in Louisiana that is sustainable,” Ginn said.