Shreveport-Bossier area’s economic rankings improve

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The Shreveport-Bossier Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) received two recent rankings that point to an upswing in the local economy. 

Forbes magazine named Shreveport-Bossier among the “Best Opportunity Cities.”  Shreveport came in at no. 17 among 19 places where it may be easier to make your mark.  Southern Business & Development (SB&D), an economic development journal that focuses on southern economies, ranked Shreveport-Bossier as a “Game Changing Community” in its current issue, placing us near the top of the list of southern communities that have won big projects.

“These recent rankings clearly demonstrate that we are not an economy on the decline as some would have us think.  Whether our economy has gained much momentum in the last few years,” said Scott Martinez, NLEP President. “The impact of our recent wins such as Benteler Steel/Tube, Libbey Inc., Module X, Lube-Tech and CSC will begin to show in the job numbers.”

To determine the ranking for “Best Opportunity Cities,” Forbes used unemployment rates and trends from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median home sales price, and census data for overall population growth.

According to Forbes, “Unlike major cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where professionals in the early to middle phases of their careers (ages 25 to 39) might feel overwhelmed or lost in the shuffle, most of these cities (Best Opportunity Cities) are small enough that enterprising people can really make their mark. But they’re still large enough to offer amenities—museums, parks, and in many cases vibrant downtowns–that make for a high quality of life. Most importantly, because these places offer affordable housing, residents enjoy the opportunity to spend their energy getting creative, starting a company, or simply enjoying time off, without the pressure-cooker professional environment and stressfully high housing costs that are the hallmark of many of the nation’s biggest job centers.”

SB&D ranked Shreveport at no. 7 among “Game Changing Communities,” based on our top petrochemical manufacturing projects from 2010 to 2014 and no. 16 for all manufacturing projects during the same period.  Projects considered in determining the ranking must have created 200 jobs and/or $30 million in investment.

“There is one sector that has grown faster than any in the manufacturing arena, particularly in the South. Taken as a whole — meaning combining oil and gas projects with chemical projects — no industry in the region has expanded more so than petrochemicals, and that includes the automotive industry, the South’s manufacturing “rock” for three decades. Northwest Louisiana, anchored by Shreveport, has certainly taken advantage of the petrochemicals boom in the South as it is one of the top mid-markets in the region in capturing large projects from that industry sector over the past few years,” said Michael Randle, SB&D owner and publisher.

According to SB&D, Shreveport landed a total of six manufacturing projects with five of these projects in the petrochemical manufacturing sector.

“The Haynesville Shale remains a driving economic force, even though drilling has slowed due to low natural gas prices.  You see multinational corporations such as Benteler Steel/Tube locating at the Port of Caddo Bossier partly due our proximity to the Shale,” said Martinez.