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Northwest Louisiana Economics
Hayneville Shale
Barksdale Air Force Base
Healthcare
Film Industry
Entertainment
Commercial Real Estate Market

Northwest Louisiana Economics

The underlying Northwest Louisiana regional economy remains far healthier than the US economy and boasts a diverse set of economic drivers. Steve Walker, the head of JP Morgan Chase for the region says, "If people here did not read the newspapers or turn on the TV, most would not know the country was in recession.” In fact, US News and World Report recently listed Shreveport as one of the top ten cities to find a job in 2009.  Louisiana currently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 7.4% vs. the national rate of 9.4% and the Southern region rate of 9.3%.

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Haynesville Shale

One of the most important economic drivers to the region is the recent development of the Haynesville Shale natural-gas deposits. Expected to out-shadow the Barnett Shale in Fort Worth, Texas, the Haynesville Shale is considered to be the largest natural gas deposits in the US and fourth largest in the world. The Haynesville-Shale is estimated to hold up to 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the equivalent of 33 billion barrels of oil, or 18 years' worth of current U.S. oil production. Some industry executives think the field could be several times that size. While the total economic impact is yet to be seen, similar to that of the Barnett Shale, the activity is expected to have a multi-billion dollar impact on the economy with multiplier effects rippling through virtually all regional industries. 

A recent economic study estimates the overall activity in the shale in 2008 generated approximately $2.4 billion in new business sales within Louisiana, created nearly $3.9 billion in household earnings, generated an increase of more than 32,000 jobs within the state and increased state and local tax revenues by at least $153.3 million.

Chesapeake Energy, a major owner of the area’s mineral rights, has invested over a $1 billion in Northwest Louisiana, distributed nearly $300 million in royalty payments and has leased upwards of 700,000 acres. Schlumberger, a leading supplier of technology, project management and information solutions to the oil and gas industry, is locating a state of the art facility that substantially grows the company’s existing area operations in the region.

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Barksdale Air Force Base

Shreveport is home to the Barksdale Air Force Base, a major US military defense establishment, and an important economic driver in Northwest Louisiana since its establishment in 1933. Barksdale is the United States training ground for all B-52 bomber crews.  In addition to a military and civilian staff of over 9,000, and 7,000 additional dependents, Barksdale Air Force Base is responsible for the creation of 3,164 civilian jobs, for a total current annual economic impact of over $421.2 million.  These dependents and employees require substantially more workforce housing than is currently available.

Barksdale was recently chosen as the home of the recently Air Force Global Strike Command, which will organize and coordinate the Air Force’s nuclear operations and capabilities, will generate an estimated 900 personnel to the base. While Barksdale was not chosen as the site of the Defense Department’s CyberSpace Command, the infrastructure - network operations center and Cyber Innovation Center Building - was built in anticipation of it.  A number of businesses who desire to be located in close proximity to Global Strike Command are expected to occupy that space. All of this equates to increased demand for services and housing.

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Healthcare

The 800 acre triangular InterTech Science Park is anchored by the three major medical centers that lead one of the region’s largest and most dynamic industries - healthcare.

 A substantial number of medical professionals (80-85%) and all of the teaching physicians and nurses in the Shreveport-Bossier region are located within this triangle, employing over 27,000 workers. The facility has the only pediatric trauma unit, the only burn unit, and the only bone marrow transplant unit in the state. It also contains the largest neurosurgical unit in the state. The site encompasses the LSU Medical School in Shreveport, the Northwestern State University Nursing School, the Virginia K. Shehee Biomedical Research Institute, the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Imaging Centers, an emergency trauma center and a specialized orthopedic hospital. In addition, two incubator facilities owned by the Biomedical Research Foundation for new, technology-based businesses, the Center for Biomedical Technology Innovation and the InterTech Business Innovation Center, are located within the triangle.

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Film Industry

Shreveport possesses one of the nation’s most thriving film production industries as major film companies flock to the region enticed by aggressive state tax credits.­ The region has recently been deemed the “Hollywood South”.  During the past three years, Shreveport has filmed over 60 projects. These Hollywood-fueled projects have prompted the construction of a number of new film-production facilities.

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Entertainment

Shreveport is the home of five major stationary casinos, including Sam’s Town, Harrahs and Eldorado, and boasts a growing leisure and hospitality employment base.

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Commercial Real Estate Market

Unlike many other areas of the nation, Northwest Louisiana’s commercial real estate market remains stable due to a strong, diverse economy. The region is not experiencing a strong contraction because it did not undergo a major expansion. Rental rates are continuing their upward trend due to increased demand from the expanding oil and gas industry, film industry and various manufacturers along with a pent-up demand for multi-family rental housing.

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