by Elliott Stonecipher
Online blog and news source The Huffington Post released a study Sunday evening which ranks the Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana economy as the “fastest shrinking” in the nation. In the study’s ranking of “America’s Fastest Growing (and Shrinking) Economies,” also cited is the Lafayette, Louisiana area economy, ranked fourth among the ten areas with nation-worst economic growth.
The Huff Post article details the study’s methodology by noting it is based on the U. S. Conference of Mayors’ recent report produced “in conjunction with forecasting company IHS Global Insight (IHS).” Further detail in the article notes the study’s use of employment / unemployment data from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), along with economic data from the U. S. Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey. The study “… identified the metropolitan statistical areas with the largest growth and contraction in real gross metropolitan product during 2013.” Also noted is that unemployment rates used in the study, from BLS, “are seasonally adjusted and reflect figures from October.” The study’s base measure of economic activity is “gross metro product” (GMP).
The article notes, “While as many as 97 local economies shrank last year, the gross metro product (GMP) of only seven metro areas is expected to decline this year. In the case of Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana, the economy shrank more than 5%. On the other side of the spectrum, the economy of Midland, Texas, grew by 7.5%, the most in the nation.”
The following direct data and commentary concerning the Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area is included in the article:
1. Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
… 2013 GMP change: -5.2%
… 2013 change in employment: -1.3% (10th worst)
… Projected 2014 GMP change: 1.6% (82nd worst)
… Unemployment rate: 6.9% (180th highest)
“… For the second consecutive year, the Shreveport area shrank more than any other metro area in the nation. (Emphasis mine.) The area’s GMP fell by 11% in 2012. The economy’s rate of decline slowed somewhat last year, but it still contracted by more than 5%. One explanation for the dramatic declines could be General Motors’ decision to close its large assembly plant in Shreveport in 2012. The plant, which manufactured Hummers and various truck models prior to the shutdown, employed 3,000 people at one time.”
In relation to the Lafayette economy and ranking, the article includes the following:
“Employment in Lafayette rose by 2% last year, better than the national employment growth rate that year. Similarly, Lafayette’s most recent unemployment rate was 4.8%, among the lowest in all metro areas measured. Like many Louisiana regions, Lafayette’s economy has been stimulated in the past by the oil and gas industry. In 2012, oil and gas companies Schlumberger and Wood Group Production Services were among the region’s top-employers. Lafayette is also home to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. According to a 2012 study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and IHS, Lafayette’s GMP was expected to grow by 7.5% that year. However, the groups’ most recent report indicates the area’s economy shrank by more than 8% in 2012, and then by 3.2% in 2013.
The top five fastest-growing economies according to the study, are:
5. Fargo, North Dakota – Minnesota
4. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
3. Pascagoula, Mississippi
2. Odessa, Texas
1. Midland, Texas
Obviously, officials from the metropolitan areas cited have not, as of the time of this article, publicly responded to the findings of the study.
Elliott Stonecipher’s reports and commentaries are written strictly in the public interest, with no compensation of any kind solicited or accepted. Appropriate credit to Mr. Stonecipher in the sharing – unedited only, please – of his work is requested and appreciated.