Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Defining the Growth of Bossier

by David Specht

Everybody says “Bossier’s on the grow!” It’s an easy statement to adopt as a belief when you can look around anywhere within the city and parish and see projects like road improvements, residential construction, and ribbons being cut on new commercial developments. It’s also a very general statement.

Yes, Bossier is in fact on the grow, and has been for many years.

But how?… But where? … And, Is it real growth?

Taking a closer look at local indicator trends distinctly marks the Bossier community as one that is in fact on the grow in many different areas. A breakdown on the specifics of the how and the where helps us to show that Bossier is marking real growth.

Growth in jobs
Bossier Parish notes positive changes in the area’s annual employment figures. According to the latest report form the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bossier Parish’s unemployment rate fell from 6% in 2016 to 5.1% in 2017.

Noted economist, Dr. Loren Scott, also echoed the area’s growth during his recent visit to northwest Louisiana for the annual Louisiana Outlook tour. Traveling through every major MSA in the state, Scott gives each region a comprehensive health report and shares major economic trends. Scott noted that after almost a decade of decline, the Shreveport-Bossier MSA is projecting to begin two years of moderate growth, adding about 1,400 jobs a year (0.8%) over 2018-19.

“Fueling this recovery will be a rising rig count in the Haynesville Shale, nice gains
in the region’s high-tech sector, and a larger bounty of state road lettings than in the past.” Scott added

Taking a closer look at employment numbers within Bossier’s cornerstone sectors, we also see an increase in the number of education and healthcare related jobs from last year as well as gains in manufacturing. Jobs within these sectors offer quality employment opportunities complete with higher wages and shows that our region is diverse in areas of employment.

Growth in population
Annually, the GBEDF works with our partners at the state level to forecast population projections for Bossier City, Bossier Parish, and the surrounding areas of Haughton, Benton and Plain Dealing. Our population forecasts estimate a 7% increase for Bossier City and an 8.6% increase for Bossier Parish over the next five years. Combined, the city and parish can expect the potential to add over 16,000 new residents by 2022.

Population predictions show Benton’s growth rate has slowed from previous years, but will still increase by an estimated 3% in population this year. The community of Haughton is expected to boom by an estimated 33% this year, with a surge of nearly 1,000 residents.

Growth in construction
Rooftops = retail. A surge in residential construction will often spur commercial development and new road construction. Over the last few months, Bossier City has issued 155 permits for new residential construction. Commercial development isn’t far behind with 56 new commercial permits issued as well for the city. The commercial construction numbers look to hold steady for the remainder of the year with a big surge coming from the capital improvements and investments being made by the Bossier Parish School System.

Knowing the numbers and tracking the trends helps leaders in the community to share our story of growth and invest tax dollars wisely. As a result, we have seen the city and parish work together on projects that increase the quality of life for residents and support new growth for businesses. The indicators noted here help to shape our community by allowing for effective planning and implementation of strategies that will help the community to further grow and develop as a leader within the region.

Rocky Rockett, Executive Director | Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation (GBEDF)

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