Wednesday, July 27, 2011
By Gregg Gothreaux
Economic indicators place Lafayette near the top of every list.
The Lafayette Economic Development Authority collects hundreds of data points including retail sales, employment numbers, per capita income and more. It’s these numbers plus anecdotal information from community and business leaders that help LEDA present Lafayette in the best light to individuals or businesses looking to become a part of our community.
Analyzing statistical data for the purposes of economic development can be tricky. Since no two communities are alike, no standard set of statistics will necessarily tell the entire story. So, what data best defines our community? What numbers tell us where we stand? This month, I’ll update you on three indicators in LEDA’s statistical library — retail sales, per capita income and construction valuation. These statistics are three of the main components in illustrating the vitality of Lafayette’s economy.
Total Retail Sales says a lot about the current condition of the market, and is an indicator of consumer spending and confidence. We saw double digit gains in retail sales between 2005 and 2008; however, sales dropped by 11 percent in 2009 in response to the national recession. In 2010, sales rebound to nearly $5 billion, thanks to strong sales in the second half of the year. That trend has continued into 2011, with year-to-date sales through May up 11 percent, or $211 million. In a month-to-month comparison to 2010, retail sales have finished higher each month. If retail sales continue at this rate, we can expect to see over $5 billion dollars in sales by the end of this year. Strong retail sales indicate the community has disposable income and is attractive to retailers looking to enter or grow in the market.
Like retail sales, per capita income (PCI) is a significant measurement of the quality of our economy. In assessing our economic growth and progress, we look to per capita income as a measure of our success as a community. Because of its availability on a county level nationally, it is sometimes the only indicator available to adequately compare ours to other regions. The most recent figures show Lafayette Parish’s per capita income is $44,598, which is 3.6 percent more per every man, woman and child than the year before. Lafayette Parish has the second highest PCI in the state and is now ranked in the top 7 percent of all counties in the U.S.— 213 out of 3,113 counties— putting us near the top of a list that many study. Lafayette’s per capita income remains above state and national figures, $37,632 and $40,166 respectively. Even though the statistic is lagging in nature— the most current figures are based on 2009 data— it gives us an overall picture of Lafayette’s economy.
Construction valuation has returned to levels more in line with growth trends seen in the early part of the 2000s, following a recording-setting year in 2006-07. Even though totals were lower in 2009-10, they exceeded our forecast of $235 million by $100 million. Year-to-date construction valuation is holding neck and neck with the last fiscal year. We expect to see construction around $300 million when the fiscal year ends in October. It’s important to note these valuations only reflect construction permitted within the city limits of Lafayette and in unincorporated areas of the parish. These numbers would be much higher if construction from Lafayette Parish’s five municipalities— Broussard, Carencro, Duson, Scott and Younsgville— were included. Because construction valuation is made available upon the purchase of commercial and residential permits, we can identify businesses moving into the market and anticipate an increase in population as it happens and prior to its affect.
At LEDA, we are constantly evaluating the economy and reviewing statistics as they are received at various points in the year. In total, LEDA collects hundreds of data points each year—some based on client requests and others for our own understanding of the market. As I said before, the numbers do not tell the whole story. We rely heavily on input from community and business leaders to understand the complete picture so please take the opportunity to educate us on how to gauge success in your industry. And please let us know if there are statistics or information out there that fill in the missing pieces and help complete the puzzle that is Lafayette’s economy. For access to statistics that the LEDA staff maintains, please visit our website at www.lafayette.org.
Gregg Gothreaux is president and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority.
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative
Lafayette-based emergency department staffing and management company raises $120 million in senior credit facilities through GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services.
High-rise apartment building, parking garage, hotel and retail part of new development.
A common thread runs through many of those we oppose: Enshrining in the Constitution protections on programs and their funding sources has had a disastrous effect on Louisiana’s most important economic development engine.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
The number of Louisianans with jobs continued to set records in September, but the state's unemployment rate kept rising as new job seekers keep entering the market.
Three bedroom cottage or three bedroom ranch
Sheer lace perfection
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana is drowning, quickly.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Oscar de la Renta dies; Pistorius sentenced; World Series begins and more national and international news for Tuesday, October 21, 2014.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
Three bedroom in Lawtell or two bedroom in Rayne
Fall's new darling
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
An investment group led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets will buy the Louisiana power company Cleco for $3.4 billion.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
"I feel it is appropriate to speak up when there are topics that are being bandied about with little or no factual data to back them."
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.