With a couple of restaurants going out of business recently we are hearing questions about whether the economic boom for our area is over or not. There are any number of reasons why a business makes the tough decision to close their doors, and those restaurants may have been the victim of our success. Our growth has brought us a lot of new businesses, so competing for customer dollars is even more difficult. And the competition for employees can make it difficult to offer your products and services at a competitive price. Opportunity does also bring challenge, just as challenge often brings opportunity.
As to our economic boom, the experts say Southwest Louisiana's economy is continuing to grow. This report from the H.C. Drew Center for Business and Economic Analysis and the College of Business at McNeese state university was recently released to area businesses. The first line of the summary letter says, "We anticipate continued steady growth in the SWLA economy in the next six months." Unemployment insurance claims are at just 2.3%, and the primary drivers of the current growth are residential real estate with housing starts, and perhaps oddly enough, the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes restaurants.
There is a saying that sometimes we miss opportunity because it shows up at our door wearing overalls and looking like hard work. I suppose we all have to consider what opportunity the economic boom may bring to us, and what challenges it means we will have to face.