2016 numbers showed low economic growth in Lafayette, but expert says city is bouncing back

La. (KLFY) -Louisiana’s 8 metropolitan areas included two of the fastest growing and two of the fastest shrinking economies in 2016 and Lafayette is on the list.

According to numbers released Wednesday by the US commerce department, Lake Charles’ economy grew by 8.1%, the fastest in the nation.

That growth was boosted by manufacturing, tied to oil and chemical refining.

Alexandria grew 7%, the 4th fastest nationwide, boosted by natural resources and mining, a sector including oil and gas extraction.

Two other urban areas had not so good news.

Lafayette’s economy shrank by 11.5% the 3rd worst nationwide.

The Houma-Thibodeaux area was no better; their economy was reduced by 10.4%

Both areas saw broad-based declines including drops in oil exploration, transportation and utilities, finance and real estate and durable goods manufacturing.

Gregg Gothreaux, president, and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority says, while the numbers are true, they don’t tell the whole story.

“We’ve lost 23,000 jobs since June of 2014, but we’ve held our own because the direct impact of oil and gas has dropped from 70+% in the 1980’s to 30+% today we’re still affected by the downturn and particularly the high-end income levels, but in reality we’re still so diversified that we’re still doing pretty darn well,” Gothreaux explains

He adds that markers to date prove that.

“Most of the current indicators and some of those leading indicators are good, different. We actually increased our economy in the first quarter of 2017 over 2016 by a good 8 to 10 percent. We’ve lost some great high-paying jobs,”  Gothreaux explains

“Slowly but surely we’re coming back like we always do,” Gothreaux says.

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