An outlook on the Lafayette economy

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – When it comes to Lafayette’s economic outlook for 2018, respected economist Dr. Loren Scott says the Hub City has not bottomed out yet.

Despite recent job loss, Scott says the numbers have been worse, like during the oil bust of the 1980s.

“Your job loss now vs your job loss back in the 1980’s totally different – it was 19%, now you’re down 11%, Scott says.

Scott told attendees at the annual One Acadiana Entree’ to Business Breakfast that Lafayette’s emerging technology sector and several stronghold companies provide diversity, a key factor in preventing further job loss.

“One of the reasons for that is you have these four big companies LHC, The Schumacher Group, Stuller and Acadian Ambulance and now you have development of the tech sector,” Scott explains.

Scott says he sees recovery, but a boom will take more than increased efficiencies to drive down what he called the “break-even point.”

He says many companies have cut costs, driven down profits for service companies resulting in the many layoffs.

“The problem is you can’t keep cutting suppliers. If you want to come back and start to drill some more, you have to start paying Schumacher and Baker Hughes more which has a tendency to push the break event point upward, again, a mixed bag in terms of recovery,” Scott notes.

Lafayette attorney Ed Abell of Onebane Law firm was pleased with Scott’s outlook.

I think he’s given us a pretty good prognosis for where we’re going. We’re not going back to $100 per barrel, but he did say $65 in a few year and I’m thinking we’ve got to learn to live in the $55 range,” Abell says.

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