Pelican Institute: Louisiana economy going down

NEW ORLEANS —  Despite many positive news stories in recent months, the Pelican Institute released an economic report card, “Louisiana’s Still Not Working,” which highlights the job losses, outmigration trends and other critical factors that are contributing to Louisiana’s continued economic decline. 

Analyzing job growth, personal income, population and gross domestic product figures, the new report card, which is a follow-up to last year’s “Louisiana’s Not Working” from the Pelican Institute, presents the real numbers that are impacting the state’s economy and hindering access to jobs and opportunity for all Louisianans. Among the many facts detailed in the report card are that from July 2018 to July 2019, the Louisiana civilian labor force decreased by more than 6,500 people and over that same period, Louisiana also became the only state in the U.S. to lose jobs.

Despite some reductions in recent years, Louisiana has also earned the distinction of having the seventh highest unemployment rate in the nation. The Pelican Institute’s report card also notes that most reductions in the unemployment rate in recent years come from a combination of people leaving the workforce or leaving the state completely. For example, Louisiana lost 27,914 residents from July 2017 to July 2018, which represents the fourth largest population loss in the country.

An analysis of economic activity paints a similarly depressing picture, with Louisiana’s 1.1 percent economic growth rate in 2018 ranked No. 41 in the country and falling significantly behind the U.S. economy’s 2.9 percent growth. Additionally, Louisiana ranked dead last in net job gains from 2018 to 2019 and No. 34 in income growth. These facts stand in stark contrast to several recent reports asserting the state is surpassing the nation in job and personal income growth.

Daniel Erspamer, chief executive officer of the Pelican Institute, said the new report card provides Louisianans with a realistic view of the state’s current jobs market and underscores the importance of having leaders willing to make bold changes and embrace a new vision for a stronger Louisiana.

“During a time when the national economy is thriving and unemployment numbers are reaching all-time lows, Louisianans should know that their state is an outlier among the nation’s economic successes,” Erspamer said. “As Louisiana’s economy continues to stagnate, more and more citizens are leaving the state to find quality jobs and opportunity elsewhere. We can reverse this trend, but to do that, we must empower leaders that will fight for comprehensive reforms to our state’s broken tax, budget, legal, education and other systems that are contributing to these persistent problems. If we refuse and continue down the same status quo path that has gotten us here today, we will continue to fall behind the rest of the country.”

Click here to view the full report from the Pelican Institute for Public Policy.

This newest report card builds on the Pelican Institute’s overarching nonpartisan policy platform, “A Jobs and Opportunity Agenda for Louisiana.” For more information on the report card, “A Jobs and Opportunity Agenda for Louisiana” and other Pelican Institute initiatives, visit PelicanInstitute.org.