La. GDP growth slower than U.S., Southeast averages

The gross domestic product of Louisiana grew at a slower rate than the U.S. and Southeastern average in 2012, according to a report released Thursday.

The Louisiana GDP increased by 1.5 percent in 2012, compared to a 2.5 percent increase nationally and a 2.1 increase for the Southeast, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. GDP is what consumers, businesses and government spend on goods and services, along with investment and net foreign trade.

Thomas Dail, a spokesman for the BEA, said Louisiana actually had a bit of a rebound in 2012. The GDP dropped 2.6 percent from 2010 to 2011. The BEA had earlier estimated the state had 0.5 growth in 2011, but new data led to a downward revision.

Nondurable goods manufacturing accounted for nearly a percentage point of Louisiana’s growth in 2012, Dail said. That includes booming industries such as refining, petrochemical production and food manufacturing.

But a drop in government spending accounted for 0.35 percentage point drop in the GDP and a slowdown in mining activity led to a 0.3 percentage point drop. Low natural gas prices have caused drilling activity to slow down in north Louisiana, while boosting the petrochemical and chemical plants in south Louisiana.

Stephen Moret, Louisiana’s economic development secretary, said in a statement that a recovery in the Haynesville Shale is underway and activity in the natural gas-rich region will accelerate as large industrial projects are completed.

Moret noted that over a five-year period, Louisiana’s GDP has grown nearly 50 percent faster than the U.S. average and more than 25 percent faster than the Southeast overall.

Louisiana’s GDP was $198.5 billion in 2012, up from $195.6 billion in 2011. The state had the 30th-largest increase out of any state and the District of Columbia.

The Louisiana GDP accounts for 1.6 percent of the U.S. total. California, which has a GDP of $2 trillion, accounted for the largest share, 12.9 percent.

North Dakota, which has been boosted by an oil boom, had the biggest increase nationally, reporting a 13.4 percent increase in state GDP to nearly $38.7 billion. Connecticut was the only state to see its GDP decrease in 2012, falling 0.1 percent to $197.2 billion.