I’ve spent my entire career working closely with Louisiana’s industrial sector. Refineries, chemical plants, storage terminals, other manufacturing sites, and the industrial contractors who build and maintain these facilities.
You’ve seen the statistics and you know how critical this sector is to Louisiana and particularly to Louisiana’s I-10/I-12 corridor. According to economist Dr. Loren Scott, nearly 12,000 Louisiana residents work in refining and 25,600 work in chemical plants in our state.
The job multipliers and spin offs in our economy are huge: 8.0 for refining and 9.3 for chemicals. This means that for every job at a plant like ExxonMobil Chemical Plant in Baton Rouge, an additional 8.3 jobs are created in Louisiana’s economy. You’ll hear me talk a lot about this sector in this column over the course of this year. It’s quality of life changing products that we sometimes take for granted. It’s community support and outreach. It’s jobs and economic impact.
Part of that multiplier from refineries and chemical plants is one of the strongest industrial construction and maintenance contracting industries in the world, headquartered right here in the Bayou State—firms like Brown & Root Industrial Services, Turner Industries, Performance Contractors, Excel, ISC, Triad, and many more. I know how important these companies and these jobs are to our state and we’ll focus attention on their impact as well.
I’ll also weigh in regularly with my opinion on government’s impact on our economy. I have said it often, with the things that occur here naturally, Louisiana is like no other place.
Our culture, food and music; the City of New Orleans, and all the culture and history that it represents; our people’s passion and work ethic; our unity in good times and bad; the LSU System; the University of Louisiana System; two historic HBCUs in Southern and Grambling; oil and gas in abundance; 30+% of the nation’s energy supply flowing through our coast; the petrochemical and refining industries, with all of the science and technology that they bring; and our water resources. All that—and we sit on the Gulf of Mexico and at the mouth of the greatest economic transportation artery in the western hemisphere: the Mississippi River.
If we can ever get our act together (tax structure/stable and priority-based budgets /education/infrastructure), I firmly believe that no other state in the United States could compete with us. Not Texas, not California, not Florida, not New York, and certainly not Alabama. (That last one’s for my LSU family.)