Economy split in Louisiana cities in 2016

Louisiana's eight metropolitan areas included two of the nation's fastest growing economies and two of its fastest shrinking ones in 2016.

Lake Charles' economy grew 8.1 percent, the fastest in the nation according to numbers released Wednesday by the U.S. Commerce Department. That growth was boosted by nondurable goods manufacturing, including oil and chemical refining. Alexandria grew 7 percent, fourth fastest nationwide, boosted by natural resources and mining, a sector including oil and gas extraction.

Two other urban areas had bad news. The Lafayette area's economy shrank 11.5 percent, third-worst nationwide. The Houma-Thibodaux area economy shrank 10.4 percent. Both areas saw broad-based declines including drops in oil exploration, transportation and utilities, finance and real estate and durable goods manufacturing.

Swings were more moderate in gross domestic product, which seeks to measure all economic output of an area, in Louisiana's other cities. Hammond grew 3.4 percent, like Lake Charles and Alexandria outperforming the 1.7 percent growth posted by metro areas nationwide.

The New Orleans area economy, the state's largest, grew 1 percent, while the Baton Rouge area grew 0.9 percent. Both were led by a strong showing from the nondurable manufacturing sector. The Shreveport-Bossier City area saw its economy decline 1 percent, with natural resources and mining falling the most.