Louisiana’s GDP up by 5.4 percent, fourth-fastest pace in U.S.

Louisiana’s gross domestic product increased by 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, the fourth-fastest pace in the nation, according to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

BEA defines gross domestic product as the total of goods and services produced by labor and property in a state or nation.

Stephen Moret, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, said the state’s growth spurt was expected.

For the past 6 years, Moret said, “Louisiana’s real GDP growth has been roughly twice as fast as that of the U.S. overall, based on the latest official data from the … BEA.”

Moret said the 5.4 percent growth rate “is not a surprising result given that Louisiana’s economy has outperformed that of the South and U.S. overall since January 2008, whether considering job growth, unemployment, GDP growth or other economic measures.”

For the next five years, Moret added, growth in jobs and GDP is expected to remain strong in Louisiana.

Adam Knapp, president and chief executive officer of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, noted job growth has been particularly strong in the nine-parish metro area.

Last year, BRAC predicted the region would add 8,700 jobs in 2014.

“The metro area … is up 12,700 jobs for just the first six months of this year,” Knapp said Wednesday. “We’re growing even faster than our forecast.”

Construction, manufacturing, and fuel and other chemical refining sales are leading the way in Baton Rouge and across the southern half of the state, Knapp noted.

“Louisiana has some of the most favorable manufacturing conditions in the world,” Knapp said. “China, of all places, is offshoring manufacturing to Louisiana.”

Knapp added, “Our economic boom is underway in Baton Rouge and Louisiana.”

Michael Hecht, president and chief executive officer of Greater New Orleans Inc., noted work has begun on more than $60 billion in planned industrial plants and expansions across the state.

“Louisiana is leading the South in economic development wins, and the economic measures are likely beginning to reflect the job and wage creation inherent in those projects, Hecht said.”

Louisiana, however, continues to lag the national average of $44,543 for per capita personal income.

The state ranked 31st in that category last year, at $40,689. That was a 1.6 percent increase in Louisiana’s per capita personal income, 0.2 percentage points less than the uptick in the national average.

At $188.2 billion, Louisiana’s total personal income ranked 24th in the U.S. last year. That was a higher ranking than the state’s estimated population of 4.6 million, which was 25th in the nation.