LED Secretary Stephen Moret issued the following statement on Louisiana's economic performance over the last three years, including 2010:
"Since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office in early 2008, Louisiana's economy has outperformed the South and U.S. by any reasonable measure. For example, from January 2008 through the official end of the national recession in June 2009, Louisiana's job performance was better than that of any other Southern state, and employment levels in Louisiana have grown faster than the South and the U.S. since the end of the national recession.
"For the last three years in a row, U.S. Census figures indicate Louisiana's population has grown faster than the U.S. Additionally, Louisiana's unemployment rate has remained well below that of the South and U.S. every month since January 2008.
"Despite facing a growing list of federal policy challenges, as well as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Louisiana's economy continued to outperform the South and U.S. in 2010.
"Louisiana again produced a record year for business development, securing a variety of game-changing business development wins in both traditional industries and Louisiana's new target industry sectors, such as digital media and alternative energy.
"For example, Nucor Corp. recently announced a multiphase iron and steel production facility in St. James Parish that could create 1,250 jobs and $3.4 billion in capital investment. Globalstar Inc. announced the relocation of its corporate headquarters and all product development activities from Silicon Valley to Covington, La., a project that will result in more than 500 new, high-paying jobs. Aeroframe Services is in the process of adding more than 300 new, high-paying jobs to its facility at Chennault International Airport in Southwest Louisiana. Blade Dynamics Ltd., the result of a partnership between Dow Venture Capital and American Superconductor Corp., is launching a 600-job project at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, focused on manufacturing high-tech wind turbine blades and components.
"The Receivables Exchange attracted financing from some of the leading venture capital firms in the country, including Bain Capital Ventures; was named the 'Most Innovative E-commerce Company in the World' by The Wall Street Journal; and is in the process of adding more than 60 new, high-paying jobs in New Orleans. TraceSecurity Inc. announced the relocation of two of the company's key operating divisions, software development and national sales, from Dallas and San Diego to Baton Rouge.
"NEW Customer Services Companies Inc. announced it will add more than 200 customer support positions in Central Louisiana. The U.S. Air Force recently finished adding about 1,000 new direct jobs at the new U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base in Northwest Louisiana. In Northeast Louisiana, ConAgra Foods completed phase one (275 jobs) of its new large-scale processing facility, which after the completion of phase two will employ up to 600 people.
"In April, CenturyLink announced it will acquire Qwest Communications, a transaction that will ultimately result in CenturyLink becoming the third largest telecommunications company in the country -- based right here in Monroe, La.
"Folgers announced it will consolidate operations from at least two other states to the New Orleans area, resulting in 120 new jobs and $69 million in capital investment. Georgia-Pacific announced a $300 million modernization project for its Port Hudson, La., mill, which will help secure the future of that critical economic driver for many years to come. SNF recently kicked off the first phase of its $350 million, 500-job specialty chemicals facility in Iberville Parish.
"These are just a few examples of the business development wins that we secured in 2010. In fact, dozens of companies announced expansions or relocations in 2010 in Louisiana, launching projects that will create more than 18,800 new direct and indirect jobs, $5.5 billion in new capital investment, $58 million per year in new, state tax revenues and billions of dollars in new sales for small businesses.
"Finally, a variety of national publications recognized Louisiana's economic progress in 2010, ranking Louisiana as 'State of the Year,' LED as the second best state economic development organization in the U.S., LED FastStart as the best state workforce training program in the U.S., and Louisiana's business climate as the most improved in the U.S.
"Without question, much of our business development success in 2010 was in large part the result of policy reforms that Gov. Jindal and the Louisiana Legislature began in 2008, including comprehensive governmental ethics reform, workforce development reforms (e.g., creation of LED FastStart), workers compensation reforms and elimination of unconventional, onerous business taxes, including sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment, franchise tax on corporate debt, sales tax on natural gas and business utilities, and capital gains tax on the sale of small businesses.
"As the national economy looks to continue its recovery in 2011, Louisiana is well-positioned to secure a large share of new business investment projects in the U.S. Additionally, Louisiana's economy will experience significant job growth from projects announced in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
"In the year ahead, business retention, small business development, cultivation of new growth industries and customized workforce development solutions, including improving linkages with higher education, will remain top priorities for LED. We are pleased with our progress to date, and we are going to keep working hard every day to position Louisiana's economy to continue to outperform the South and U.S. on a regular basis."