Louisiana Business Profile
Louisiana's economy has become more diversified since its days of dependence on the oil and gas industry, though the region still claims the nation's second largest refining capacity. Economic diversification has come in the way of new ventures within apparel and furniture manufacturing, paper and wood products, general manufacturing, warehousing, and two logical extensions of traditional local enterprises-food processing and aquaculture.
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PETROLEUM AND NATURAL GAS
Louisiana's petroleum and natural gas resources are the underpinning for much of its giant petroleum refining and petrochemical manufacturing economy. The state is the second largest producer of natural gas, and the third largest petroleum producer. It is the second largest producer of sulfur and the leading source of salt. Sand, gravel, clays, lime, shell and gypsum are also extracted from the southern region of the state.
Louisiana Oil and Gas Association
An abundance of fresh water, a long growing season and rich soil make it possible to harvest virtually any crop grown in the Western Hemisphere. Louisiana is among the top ten states in the production of sugar cane (2nd), sweet potatoes (2nd), rice (3rd), and cotton (5th) and soybeans (10th). Specialty crops include hot peppers to produce the world-famous Tabasco sauce, pungent perique tobacco, yams and strawberries. Cattle are also raised in significant quantities.
TIMBER AND WOOD PRODUCTS
Rapidly growing pines cover 13.9 million acres of Louisiana. Pine and hardwood are harvested at a rate of one million board feet of timber and 3.6 million cords of pulp wood annually. End products are a healthy industry base for the state and include paper and paper products, furniture, flooring, plywood, particle board and containers.
Louisiana is second only to Alaska in fish and shellfish production-First in shrimp, first in oysters and first in crawfish. Each year, over 1.5 billion pounds of seafood are harvested from Louisiana waters.
Louisiana assembles light trucks, fabricates giant external fuel tanks for the space shuttle, repairs and refits jet aircraft, and makes specialized vehicles for traveling over marshes, as well as maritime ranging equipment that let ships know where they are at sea.