LSU Economist Loren Scott projects the state will add nearly 54,000 jobs over the next two years in his newly released annual Louisiana Economic Outlook. Scott says the offshore energy industry will see job growth as an additional ten new rigs will begin operations in the Gulf of Mexico by 2021 and a lull in industrial construction projects will end.

“Starting the latter part of this year and into 2020-21, we’ll see billions of dollars of new projects starting up, so we’ll start seeing a recovery in the industrial construction side,” said Scott. “That’s a major thing that is going to happen.”

Those projected gains will be led by the New Orleans and Baton Rouge Markets which will add 19,500 and 11,700 jobs respectively, and Lake Charles, the fastest-growing market, which will add 6,800 jobs.

Those predictions are based on one significant assumption, the end of the US/China trade war. Scott says recent developments have been promising, and the President knows this can’t continue long term.

“There is a national election coming up in 2020, and the President cannot go into the national election with the economy limping along at one percent growth or so,” said Scott.

China recently announced it would be exempting US soybeans and pork from it’s latest scheduled round of tariffs.

While the outlook south of the I-10 is rosy, regions north of the interstate are projected to continue stagnating. Scott says Shreveport will add 600 jobs, while Monroe will only see 400.

“Most of them peaked back in 2005-2008. There’s just not a whole bunch going on in the northern part of the state,” said Scott.

Scott did highlight the National Cyber Research Park, located next to Barksdale Airforce Base in Bossier City, as a highlight in north Louisiana. The park currently employs around 1,100 people.