Kennedy tells Rotarians: State's economy in for a 'Good Run'

Contributed Report @WeeklyCitizen
State Treasurer, John Kennedy, center, was the featured speaker at the September 23rd meeting of the Gonzales Rotary Club. Pictured with Kennedy are: Jimmy Simm, Gonzales Rotarian, left; and Gonzales Rotary Club President, Tim Pujol.

State Treasurer, John Kennedy, spoke to members of the Gonzales Rotary Club about the state of the Louisiana economy at its meeting held on September 23.

 As state treasurer, Kennedy has the responsibility of managing the state’s $10.6 billion investment portfolio.  Part of that, Kennedy said, is to meet with the various rating agencies.  This is particularly important, he noted, because Louisiana’s economy is commodity-based as opposed to economies of most other states.  This means, “Louisiana’s economy tends to zig when everyone else’s is zagging,” he said.

 Kennedy said that Louisiana’s economy grew a modest 1.3% last year, less than the national economy.  However, he noted that this trend is likely to change due to unprecedented growth in the chemical industry.  He said the state has already seen the creation of numerous temporary construction jobs. The growth in the chemical industry will also create some permanent and well-paying jobs, he said.  The expansion in this sector is due to the availability of cheap natural gas.  “The boom will continue and may be bigger than you think,” he said.

 Kennedy said that although the expansion in the chemical industry is concentrated to the River Region area of southeast Louisiana and in southwest Louisiana, there will be a multiplier effect all over the state. 

 “The oil and gas industry as a whole is doing so-so, but off-shore drilling is doing impressively well,” said Kennedy.  “I believe the state’s economy is in for a good run over the next three-to-six years,” he added.