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Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022

A Basket Full of Good News

Shreveport-Bossier City MSA 2023-24 Projections

Finally, there is a very optimistic forecast for the Shreveport-Bossier City MSA. The COVID-19 shutdown laid a heavy blow on this MSA, causing a loss of 22,600 jobs (-12.6%) overnight. By June 2022, the MSA had recovered 82% of those jobs (much better than the statewide recovery of only 68%). By the end of 2024, we project that the region will have recovered all of those job losses plus some. A whole basket full of good news is on the horizon.

The Haynesville Shale is rebounding, with its rig count rising from 20 in 2020 to 45 in mid-2022. Rejuvenation in the Haynesville can be largely traced to the present and proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities being developed in South Louisiana and Southeast Texas. These export facilities need reliable and cheap natural gas. The Haynesville Shale is much closer (read cheaper) than natural gas from the Permian Basin in West Texas. More pipelines are being built to move Haynesville gas to the Gulf Coast.

At The Port of Caddo-Bossier, tenants are investing almost $200 million in capital expansions, with employment expected to jump from 1,583 to 1,711. Tenaris has purchased Benteler Steel, and I am hoping that the new owners will add a new steel mill to its present pipe manufacturing plant.

After some delays, Amazon’s $200 million fulfillment center in the Hunter Industrial Park is now on schedule to open in September 2023. These fulfillment centers typically employ 1,000+ workers.

There are 1,700+ people employed at Cyber Research Center’s three main centers. The Center’s new Louisiana Tech Research Institute is scheduled to open near the end of 2022, adding another 400 workers. One center, General Dynamics IT (1,400 employees), has indicated a desire to double its workforce over the next five years.

After shedding more than 1,100 military and civilian jobs since 2012, Barksdale Air Force Base is poised for a reversal of fortunes. Construction will start on a new $175 to $220 million weapons generation facility that will be adding jobs. Approximately $30 million in site work has already begun, and ground has been broken for a $70 to $90 million traffic exchange on I-220 for access to the weapons unit. Construction will be underway in fall 2022 for a new $36 million gate into the Air Force base for better access to the East Reservation.

Advanced Call Center Technologies has opened a unit in the East Ridge Plaza business center that will create 600 new jobs. The Teal Jones Group is building a $110.5 million southern yellow pine lumber plant near Plain Dealing. The plant should be finished in the third quarter of 2023, and it will employ 125+ people.

American Electric Power (AEP) will spend $100 million on a 77,000-squarefoot transmission control center in Shreveport on 30 acres within the Resilient Technology Park. Construction should be completed by mid-2023, and AEP will add 20 jobs (at $115,000 per job) to its present 20-job workforce. Another power company, Cleco, has announced plans to transform the old Dolet Hills power plant site into a $250 million solar farm.

BRF has 614 people working at the headquarters or firms recruited to its campus. The organization has recently announced three new firms attracted to Shreveport. Those include Keenly Health, BioflightVR and Radiance Technologies.

These three firms will generate as many as 200 new jobs over the next few years.

Ochsner LSU Health expects its regional employment levels to remain stable over 2023-24. The entity also expects to spend about $25 million annually on capital projects at the Kings Highway campus, St. Mary Medical Center and Feist-Weiller Cancer Center.

In Bossier City, Imperial Trading is spending $20 million to expand its distribution center, which will result in 125 new jobs.

Foundation Gaming might buy the Diamond Jacks license (watch the November meeting of the Gaming Control Board) and invest several million dollars into a new boutique casino on land, which would bring back many of the lost Diamond Jacks positions.

This MSA scored a significant win in the battle for state road funding. State road lettings for 2023-24 total $331.7 million, up more than 2.5 times over last year’s $129.5 million in lettings. A total of $150 million to rehabilitate or replace the Jimmie Davis Bridge is No. 1 on the list.

It is a basket full of great news. We now forecast that the region will add 5,900 jobs (+3.3%) over the next two years, making it the second fastest-growing MSA in the state. All of the pandemic-related job losses will also have been recovered by then.


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