LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Louisiana State Department of Economic Development Secretary, Stephen Moret, spoke this afternoon at the Chamber of SWLA's Impact Luncheon at the Civic Center.
On the same day the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August Jobs Report, Moret has a different and what he calls 'more optimistic' outlook for the economy in Louisiana, specifically the SW region of the state.
"Our goal was to remake Louisiana into a place of economic opportunity" Moret said when he first took office in 2008. "That will continue to be our goal".
According to Moret, in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Louisiana was named either State of the Year or Co-State of the Year when it came to job growth which was polled from every state in the nation.
He says that while national numbers, showing slow job growth and a slight decline in unemployment, don't directly affect what's happening in our area, they should be watched. Business owners in the Lake area agree.
"What's happening nationally couple possibly trickle down and begin to affect us" Kristy Armand, owner of the Healthy Image Marketing Agency said, which won the Small Business of the Year Award earlier this summer. "We've done well in SWLA because of so much growth but if something drastic happened at the national level that could affect us".
Aside from business expansion projects like the ones at Chennault and Sasol, Moret is especially excited about the training programs that are happening at SOWELA and McNeese that will allow students to have jobs in the area, immediately upon their graduation from college.
"If they want it and don't want to move elsewhere there are going to be jobs here with these businesses that are expanding so rapidly" Moret said.
Looking towards the future, Moret is excited about and provides five reasons for optimism: Education, natural gas, the return of some manufacturing from China, transformation in New Orleans and Louisiana's improved state image.
With the Presidential election less than 60 days away, he says job growth and the economy should be a major factor and that the direction that takes will be dependent on this election.
Hear more from Moret on later editions of 7News.