The economic recoveries under way nationally and here in Acadiana are far different creatures. That was the message the morning of Oct. 11 from leading economic expert Dr. Loren Scott, who delivered his 2013 Economic Outlook for Louisiana and Acadiana to hundreds of local business and industry leaders gathered inside the Cajundome Convention Center for the ninth annual Entrée to Business Breakfast — an ABiz production.
Scott says since the “Great Recession” hit in 2007, the nation’s economic recovery has moved at a snail’s pace. The “culprit,” he says, is poor economic policy-making. And though Scott warns that state economies are vulnerable to national policy, Louisiana, and especially Acadiana, are poised for continued above-the-bar growth in the coming years. “We believe [Acadiana] will be the fastest growing part of the state,” says Scott, noting the region is experiencing an average 3.5 percent annual rate of growth and is expected to add an extra 11,000 jobs in the next few years.
But the region is not immune to negatives, the economist says, pointing to the recent loss of Transcomm and a U.S. Postal Service announcement earlier this year that its Lafayette distribution center is one of eight slated for closure.
Fortunately, according to Scott’s forecasts, the positives for Louisiana’s economic future seem to outweigh the negatives. He says the Gulf of Mexico “is back,” and with the price of oil up and likely to stay that way, that means drilling. The number of deepwater rigs is finally approaching pre-BP spill numbers, and despite a more complex application process, the issuance of permits also is on the rise.
Sponsors for the annual event were MidSouth Bank and Dwight Andrus Insurance, with Cane River Pecans and The Acadiana Economic Development Council serving as supporting sponsors and Vidox Motion Imagery the digital media sponsor.
Cochon hosted the double-event Lache Pas, a fundraiser for CODOFIL, where party-goers filled themselves with a four-course brunch that morning and danced to the sounds of Chubby Carrier, Feufollet and dozens of other musicians that evening. Distinguished guests included former Govs. Kathleen Blanco and Edwin Edwards and State Reps. Vincent Pierre, Stephen Ortego and Mike Huval. Cochon provided the brunch and was one of the evening’s vendors, along with Saint Street Inn, French Press and Blackpot Festival.
1) Bob Barras and Rusty Cloutier
2) Loren Scott
3) Warren Shepherd, Mike Pharr and James Wallace
4) Cathy Webre and Steve Oats
5) Kevin Simoneaux, Toby Thimmesch, Harry Patin and James Wallace
6) Ceci Thomassie and Dwight Kaufman
1) Mary Arton and Toby Rodriguez
2) Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Raymond Blanco
3) Gov. Edwin Edwards and Trina Scott Edwards
4) Susan Hu, Judd Jeansonne, Famee Jeansonne and Blaise Bourdin
5) Thomas Murphy and Michele Dore