The regional economy is in good health a local economist revealed at the Bossier Chamber of Commerce’s State of Bossier Address held Tuesday at Hilton Garden Inn in Bossier City.
Dr. Harold Christensen, Delphi Econometrics and Centenary College, warned attendees to not doubt the financial stability of Shreveport-Bossier, northwest Louisiana, or even the entire state of Louisiana.
“As a macroeconomist, don’t doubt what’s happening now. We’re in extraordinarily good shape, don’t let the election cycle scare you,” Dr. Christensen said. “We’re seeing ridiculously low inflation numbers. Now, the Federal Reserve is targeting higher inflation when all of our lives they were targeting lower rates.”
Narrowing his focus back down, Dr. Christensen said that Bossier is doing so well thanks to its stability.
“The key is a significant amount of stability. Things aren’t going to change significantly, unless they go up,” he said. “The federal government closing Barksdale? That’s not going to happen. So you have this base you’re built on.”
He noted that he uses a “driving around index” to get a genera sense of a community’s success. He said heading east on East Texas Street he sees, in short order, Bossier Parish Community College, the Cyber Innovation Center, and GDIT in the National Cyber Research Park.
“That shows things have changed significantly recently because those are relatively new. And they’re stable,” Dr. Christensen said.
He also said the parish is seeing a lot of construction, investment in infrastructure, and people moving in.
He said that is a change from the past where Bossier had been almost exclusively a bedroom community where people lived, but worked elsewhere.
“Now we’re seeing people are moving here to work. There’s a significant increase in jobs available and high labor force participation.”
He illustrated this with a graphic that compared the area’s unemployment rate with the national rate. He said while they corresponded a majority of the time, when things went “bad,” the area didn’t suffer as the rest of the nation does.
That is down to that previously referred to economic base of Barksdale.
“Largely the presence of Barksdale means that the local unemployment isn’t sensitive to what happens in the rest of the world, like a lot of places in Louisiana. We’re blessed being here with (Barksdale Air Force Base) and them sustaining us through those times,” Dr. Christensen noted.
Lastly, he highlighted the media household income at $59,259 and the average household income at $78,168. He said the civilian labor force totaled 57,468 and an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, as of January 2019.
Dr. Christensen said those numbers should only improve, explaining, “Incomes are increasing significantly and will continue to increase, which is a very positive thing.”