2023 Louisiana Economic outlook appears better than most thought

CEO's and business owners braced themselves for the worst on Tuesday at the Louisiana Economic Forecast event.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 6:30 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - CEOs and business owners braced themselves for the worst on Tuesday at the Louisiana Economic Forecast event. Speaker Dr. Loren Scott, a local economist, wasted no time beating around the bush.

“People should be prepared for a national recession. It’ll start probably in the first quarter of next year and the last three quarters,” said Dr. Scott.

Attendees were quickly relieved to find out Louisiana is positioned to catch a break, aside from raised interest rates and a weakened housing market. Dr. Scott predicts Baton Rouge alone will add 4,500 jobs next year and 7,900 jobs in 2024, which would make the Capitol Region’s economy the third fastest growing in the state, with three main drivers.

“One is the opening of the Amazon Fulfillment Center, that’s 2,000 jobs, a lot of jobs. You’re gonna have a lot more industrial construction activity associated with the plants coming. We also have a huge amount, probably around $3 billion in flood abatement money that’s coming to us from the Federal Reserve, from the Feds excuse me,” Dr. Scott added.

He also says Europe is going to have a rough winter, pointing the blame at their full commitment to doing away with fossil fuels.

According to Dr. Scott, the price of natural gas in Europe is 10 times what it is here. This puts us at an advantage with our abundance of natural gas and chemical plants.

“We’re getting ready to benefit from that because a lot of European firms are now going to come to South Louisiana and particularly to the Baton Rogue area as it turns out,” Dr. Scott explained.

That is music to the ears of someone like Bank of St. Francisville CEO Carter Leak.

“Yea, I’m a lot more encouraged than I was when I walked in there’s no doubt about it. I respect Dr. Scott’s opinion of a local economy, a great deal. And he really has his pulse on the industrial market, the industrial construction market, the oil and gas, it was a lot more positive than I thought. We see what interest rates are doing and what central banks are trying to do to the economy...and it looks like it will be a lot better locally than it will nationally,” Leak said.

Dr. Scott said national recessions do not affect Louisiana as much when consumers stop purchasing things like cars and other home goods, largely due to our small durable goods sector.

Dr. Scott also predicts Louisiana as a whole to add more than 14,000 jobs in 2023 and more than 30,000 jobs in 2024. That leaves the state just 38,000 jobs short of our pre-COVID employment numbers.

RELATED STORY: Professor: Louisiana’s economy growing

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