Turk File

ICYMI: State of the Economy report

by Leslie Turk

If you weren't one of the 520 people who packed the Cajundome for ABiz and LEDA's annual State of the Economy report, view it here.

Lafayette Economic Development Authority President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux delivered his third annual State of the Economy report to a packed house at the Cajundome Convention Center June 19. As he has been over the past two years, Gothreaux was optimistic about the outlook for the local economy - even more so this time around.

In supporting that upbeat attitude, Gothreaux discussed LEDA's award-winning Economic Performance Index, which whittles down 15,000 data points to 15 key indicators, noting that the first quarter EPI climbed to 120.6. That puts Lafayette Parish's economy back at its all-time high reached in August 2007, when the community was still riding the post-Katrina wave - before the recession and impact of a temporary slowdown in the oilfield resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent drilling moratorium.

The EPI tracks economic indicators like home sales, unemployment, residential building permits, local stock performance, retail sales and airport activity. View the first quarter EPI here.

Standout indicators from 2013 were home sales, which were up 21 percent to break a record, and Lafayette's unemployment rate - which stayed well below national and state averages, having dipped to as low as 3 percent in February of this year.

Throughout his discussion, the LEDA chief issued a call to action for the community, encouraging individuals to step up and get involved in initiatives that will better Lafayette. "Today, I've painted a picture for you of a community that is thriving ... but even in the best communities there is room for growth and improvement," he said. "It's well known that when a small group of dedicated people unite, they can accomplish anything. ... It just takes a spark to ignite change and development. I believe everyone in this room is a community leader that can help spark that growth in Lafayette."

Presenting sponsors for the State of the Economy event are Investar Bank and UBS/The William James Investment Group.

View the full presentation here.