I guess that headline should read, "More great economic news for SWLA." It seems that our area is not only seeing growth, but we are one of the fastest growing areas in the country!

Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis with the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the Lake Charles area tied with Bend, Oregon for the #1 spot for the fastest-growing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita real GDP of any Metro Statistical Area in the nation. Isn't that great news? Let's try and state this in English.

The growth in our area is directly tied to non-durable goods manufacturing, and our GDP growth for the past year has been at a rate of 8.1%. Just how does that compare with other communities? Well, the growth in Beaumont was only 1.2%, while Lafayette really took a beating with negative 11.5% growth.

George Swift, President/CEO, SWLA Economic Development Alliance, says that the growth is not unexpected, and that local business leaders have been working closely with both existing and new businesses to "shore up gaps in the employment pipeline." According to Swift, all this good economic news comes on the heels of years of hard work.

All this good news ties in rather nicely with the Sesquicentennial celebration this weekend. Again, Swift observed,

For 150 years, our residents have made Southwest Louisiana a great place to live, work, and play, and we will continue that way of life for another 150 years,"