BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) — CEOs and business owners braced for the worst at Tuesday’s Louisiana Economic Forecast Event. The speaker dr. Loren Scott, a local economist, wasted no time beating around the bush.
“People should be prepared for a national recession. It will likely start in the first quarter of next year and the last three quarters,” said Dr. Scott.
Attendees were quickly relieved to discover that Louisiana is poised to take a break barring higher interest rates and a weakening real estate market. dr Scott forecasts Baton Rouge will add 4,500 jobs in the next year alone and 7,900 jobs in 2024, making the Capitol Region’s economy the third fastest growing in the state with three key drivers.
“One of them is the opening of the Amazon Fulfillment Center, that’s 2,000 jobs, a lot of jobs. You will have a lot more industrial building activity associated with the upcoming facilities. We also have a huge sum, probably around $3 billion, in anti-flood funds coming to us from the Federal Reserve, from the Fed, excuse me,” added Dr. Added Scott.
He also says Europe will have a harsh winter and points the blame to their full commitment to phasing out fossil fuels.
according to dr Scott, the price of natural gas in Europe is ten times higher than here. This gives us an advantage with our wealth of natural gas and chemical assets.
“We are preparing to take advantage of this as many European companies will now be coming to southern Louisiana and particularly the Baton Rogue area as it turns out,” said Dr. Scott.
That’s music to the ears of someone like Bank of St. Francisville CEO Carter Leak.
“Yes, I’m a lot more encouraged than when I came in, there’s no doubt about that. i respect dr Scott’s opinion of a local economy very much. And he really has his pulse in the industrial market, the industrial construction market, the oil and gas, it’s been a lot more positive than I thought. We’re seeing what interest rates are doing and what central banks are trying to do to the economy… and it looks like it’s going to be a lot better locally than nationally,” Leak said.
dr Scott says the national recessions won’t affect Louisiana as much if consumers stop buying things like cars and other household goods, largely due to our small consumer durables sector.
dr Scott also predicts that Louisiana as a whole will add more than 14,000 jobs in 2023 and more than 30,000 jobs in 2024. That leaves the state just 38,000 jobs short of our pre-COVID employment figures.
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