Louisiana economic growth lags nation in 2013

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 11, 2014 at 4:35 pm •  Published: June 11, 2014

New figures show Louisiana's economy grew by 1.3 percent in 2013, lagging neighboring states and the nation.

Gross domestic product numbers released Wednesday by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis try to measure all of the economic output of each state.

Louisiana's 2013 growth rate was below the national average of 1.8 percent, and ranked 34th among the 50 states. The numbers can change later — Louisiana's 2012 growth was revised up to 2.1 percent from an earlier estimate of 1.5 percent.

"It's kind of surprising," said Kyle Hillman, an economist who tracks Louisiana's economy for Moody's Analytics. Though the state has seen strong job growth and tens of billions of oil and chemical industrial announcements, Hillman said that the boom is still around the corner.

"I think it's on the cusp," he said. "I think it's not quite there yet."

Federal figures show the biggest contributor to growth in Louisiana last year came from makers of nondurable goods, including oil and chemical refiners. But mining, including oil and natural gas extraction, was the biggest drag on the state's $254 billion economy. Swings in prices, production and profit levels for oil and refined products can make Louisiana's output numbers volatile.

The mining numbers reflected continued declines in natural gas production from the Haynesville shale in northwest Louisiana. Gas withdrawals fell 27 percent in 2013 in the Haynesville across Louisiana and Texas, according to U.S. Department of Energy numbers, even though prices rose. Drillers have been favoring gas basins where natural gas contains higher shares of liquids such as ethane, propane, and butane that can be extracted and sold. Haynesville gas is considered to be dry.