Plant managers in the Baton Rouge area are growing more concerned about the continued slump in oil prices, new taxes and regulations, and a slowing of both the petrochemical industry and global economy, according to the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance.
The industry group’s members worry that these issues may reduce industry leaders’ incentives to continue large projects in the state, including replacing old assets, the alliance said.
“As Louisiana becomes less competitive, the predominant, economic-fueling industry may seek alternative locations for investment,” GBRIA said.
The industry group’s first-quarter Economic Index, a survey that measures what plant managers think the next six months will hold, dropped to the lowest level since the third quarter of 2012 when it was 67. The most recent index was a 58 — values over 50 predict an expanding economy, while below 50 represents a shrinking economy.
The index’s most recent peak was at 93 in fourth-quarter 2012. It hit a plateau in the mid-80s during the first three quarters of 2013 and has been on a steady decline since to the upper 50s in the past two quarters.
Forty-six of the industry group’s 60 members participated in the latest survey.