So, what's good about the local economy?

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – First, there's the ongoing struggle with what to do with the old Sears property downtown.

Then there was the announcement that Pinnacle Entertainment had decided to scrap its Sugarcane Bay project---and with it, more than a thousand jobs.

Sometimes it seems like Lake Charles is going through a mini-great depression. But it's not all bad news.

George Swift, President and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Chamber of Commerce said though it might seem like the local economy is just barely hanging on, southwest Louisiana is outperforming most of the state and nation.

"We're in much better shape in Louisiana than most states," said Swift. "Southwest Louisiana is in better shape than most areas of our state."

Swift also points to the local gaming market, which he said is in good shape, and the unemployment rate of 7.5 percent, which is better than most of the state, as reasons to hope for future economic improvement.

Then there are the recent aviation contracts awarded to Aeroframe and Northrop Grumman, which are expected to bring 500-600 jobs starting this year.

Swift also sees encouragement in more business groups inquiring into development in downtown.

In a world where negative news often gets people's attention, especially when it affects their pocket books, Swift said it is a relief to discuss the good economic news out there.

"The reality is business is good here," said Swift. "There are some spots that are not, but overall business is good here and folks should go on about their business and buy purchases they need, if they can afford it, and I think we'll be fine."

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