LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Cameron Parish is getting noticed all over the state and country due to historic economic indicators. The port director was recently mentioned in Forbes magazine.
The influx of LNG export companies has caused Cameron Parish to stand out in many ways.
As LNG exporting starts, Cameron Port Director Clair Marceaux says the parish has the number one gross domestic product in the state.
In part, she says that's reflected in a huge sales tax increase in a place with no local sales tax.
“We do collect state sales tax at a rate of 4.5 percent, and just in ’16-'17 time frame, that meant an increase of 830 percent more that was sent to the state from Cameron Parish than in years before. That’s an amazing number,” she said.
And it’s not just state numbers; she says skilled jobs growth is top in the country.
“Out of 3,113 counties, all the counties in the country; in the United States, Cameron Parish leads counties—in our case, parishes. We are 411 percent higher than the second-highest jobs growth county in the United States, which is a county in Georgia. We’ve seen, in the last two years, a 1,992 percent increase in the number of jobs in Cameron Parish," said Marceaux.
She says the numbers are historic.
"Economists are contacting me and saying, 'Have you looked at these numbers, Clair? Do you recognize that these are historic—have historic implications in Cameron Parish?’” she said.
It's especially amazing to Marceaux because of how the parish was obliterated by hurricanes.
“It’s certainly a generational opportunity that we may have never seen before. I hope that we will continue to see it. For me, what it means is access for Cameron Parish residents to high-paying, secure jobs,” she said.
For locals hoping to snare good jobs, she recommends persistence and willingness to learn new skills as needed.
“We only have 6,841 people who live in Cameron Parish now. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the state of Louisiana: 2.8 percent. That means, maybe 234 people are unemployed or under employed. Until every single person who lives in my parish has the job that they want, that they’re qualified for, I’m not going to rest,” she said.