BATON ROUGE: Today, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings placed Louisiana No. 4 in the U.S. for states that announced the most new and expanded corporate facilities on a per capita basis in 2016. Louisiana ranked No. 2 among all Southern states, trailing only Kentucky on a per capita basis. Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Alexandria were cited among high-performing metropolitan areas, with Baton Rouge ranking No. 2 in the U.S. for mid-sized metro regions and No. 1 among cities along the Mississippi River corridor.
The Governor’s Cup measures the quantity of significant business development projects for the calendar year. Site Selection tallies the number of projects in a state that represent one or more of the following criteria: a minimum capital investment of $1 million, 20 or more new jobs created, and 20,000 square feet or more of new building space.
Louisiana recorded 169 such projects in 2016 and, on an absolute basis, ranked No. 3 in the South Central Region in 2016 after a No. 4 finish in 2015. In 2016, Louisiana ranked No. 11 for most Governor’s Cup-eligible projects on an absolute basis, up from No. 13 the prior year. The state has posted rankings in recent years that exceed its prior historical performance.
“Site Selection’s latest Governor’s Cup rankings demonstrate what we have known for a long time: Louisiana is a leading destination for business expansion and relocation projects for good reason,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “We remain committed to creating good jobs for our citizens and growing our economy. Quality education and job training are essential for sustaining our outstanding workforce, which contributes to our strong business climate.”
Since 2012, Louisiana has attracted $125 billion in active capital investment projects, with $65 billion of that investment now under construction or in the engineering and permitting phases. Louisiana’s No. 4 per capita ranking included dozens of major business development projects the state successfully recruited in 2016, including expansion announcements by existing companies in Louisiana and the attraction of new companies to the state.
For example, Venture Global LNG announced an $8.5 billion investment in a natural gas liquefaction facility and LNG export terminal in Plaquemines Parish; CSRA announced a 300-job customer engagement center in Bossier City, where the IT solutions leader dedicated an 800-job Integrated Technology Center later in the year; and Monsanto unveiled plans for a $975 million expansion at its St. Charles Parish chemical plant. Other 2016 project announcements included a 100-job expansion by Paychex in Baton Rouge; Crown Bioscience establishing a pharmaceutical research and development facility at the New Iberia Research Center; and Occidental Chemical’s $145 million expansion of its Geismar plant, including equipment for producing a new raw material to be used in making next-generation, climate-friendly refrigerants.
Louisiana’s 38 largest projects in 2016 represented a capital investment of more than $21 billion, resulting in 6,607 new direct and indirect jobs and retaining 5,412 jobs at companies already established in the state.
In the 2016 Governor’s Cup awards, Site Selection also recognized high-performing metro areas across the U.S., and Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Alexandria earned honors among Louisiana cities.
Among top-performing metropolitan areas with populations of 200,000 to 1 million, Baton Rouge ranked No. 2, marking the Capital Region’s fourth consecutive Top 5 finish. Baton Rouge ranked No. 5 in 2015, No. 2 in 2014 and No. 4 in 2013.
Baton Rouge and New Orleans ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, for total projects among Mississippi River corridor metropolitan areas; on a per capita basis, Baton Rouge was No. 2 and New Orleans was No. 6. Among metro areas with populations of less than 200,000, Alexandria tied for No. 4.