We begin the new year with the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
And here at home, we mark the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of Gov. Bobby Jindal. The past year has been a good one. And one of the governor’s key players has been his Secretary of Economic Development, Stephen Moret.
Records have been set in 2008, despite the national recession, and it’s worth highlighting some of the progress that LED has reported:
• Louisiana’s total nonfarm employment grew by 6,800 jobs to more than 1.9 million—an increase of 0.4%, which was greater than the rest of the South and the U.S. overall.
• According to BusinessWeek, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, are among the safest cities in America in which to ride out the recession.
• Comprehensive governmental ethics reforms catapulted Louisiana to fifth from 46th in the country in the Better Government Association’s 2008 Integrity Index.
• Louisiana improved to No. 22 (2008) from not being ranked in the top 25 (2007) in Site Selection magazine’s Top State Business Climate Rankings.
• Reflecting Louisiana’s recent and expected future economic performance, Forbes magazine increased Louisiana’s 2008 growth-prospects ranking to 17th from 45th (2007) among 50 states.
• For the first time, U.S. News & World Report ranked LSU in the top tier of its America’s Best Colleges list.
• Albemarle Corporation, a Fortune 1000 company, announced its plans to move its corporate headquarters from Richmond, Virginia to Baton Rouge. Albemarle’s move created Louisiana’s fifth Fortune 1000 headquarters, including CenturyTel, Entergy, Pool Corporation, and The Shaw Group.
• Bercen, Inc., a specialty chemicals manufacturer, relocated its corporate headquarters, as well as its research and development and technical service laboratories, from Cranston, R.I. to Denham Springs.
• Horizon Entertainment, a television and film production company, moved its headquarters from Atlanta, Ga. to New Orleans.
• The Shaw Group announced plans to keep its Fortune 500 corporate headquarters in Louisiana for at least 15 more years and to grow its professional/non-craft headcount by 1,500 new jobs, an increase of roughly 75%.
New growth industries
• Westinghouse and The Shaw Group announced a joint venture to build the nation’s first nuclear module fabrication and assembly facility in Lake Charles, generating over 1,400 new jobs and over $100 million in capital investment.
• Electronic Arts (EA), the world’s leading interactive entertainment software company, announced that it will place its new global quality assurance center in Baton Rouge, creating roughly $6 million per year in new payroll.
• In 2008, Louisiana set a production record with over 80 major film and television projects, representing over $800 million in production budgets, including approximately $500 million spent in state.
• Over 20 digital media projects have applied for Louisiana’s relatively new digital media tax credit program, representing almost $60 million of investment based on estimated production budgets.
In 2009 businesses will see lower taxes, a comprehensive workforce development reform plan, the Louisiana FastStart program, a new State Economic Competitiveness Group, and a new Business Retention and Expansion Group.
Woody Oge, a veteran workforce development advocate and site director of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Avondale recently said, “I have never been so excited with where the state is going. In the past, we had no traction. Now we do.”
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