The Biggest Industries In Louisiana

Aerial view of a Louisiana oil refinery. Image credit: Jacinta Quesada/
Aerial view of a Louisiana oil refinery. Image credit: Jacinta Quesada/
  • Louisiana’s annual gross domestic product is $257 billion.
  • A quarter of all seafood consumed in the United States is fished from Louisiana waters.
  • Louisiana is home to the highest number of oil refineries per capita in the United States.

The GDP of Louisiana is $255 billion as of 2018, the 24th largest of all 50 states. With an ideal geographic location on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and a workforce of more than two million people, Louisiana is able to produce a large quantity of domestic products from oil to fish.

The 5 Biggest Industries in Louisiana


Louisiana has the highest number of oil refineries per capita in the United States and is the third biggest producer of petroleum. In fact, the state accounts for a fifth of the entire country’s oil refining capacity, processing more than three million barrels of oil each day. Oil and coal production combined generated close to $16 billion and accounted for 7.5% of the state’s total GDP in 2016.

In addition to processing a large portion of the crude oil in the United States, Louisiana is home to the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, the only port of its kind in the country and the entry point for the majority of foreign oil that comes to the U.S.

Natural gas

Oil isn’t the only energy-related industry that contributes to Louisiana’s GDP. This state also produces a fourth of gas in the United States. An incredible 112,000 miles of gas pipelines run through Louisiana, allowing this valuable resource to be sent all over the country.

Oil and gas are also the highest paying jobs in Louisiana. The average worker in these industries makes $69,000 per year, around 75% more than the average employee in the state.


Healthcare is Louisiana’s biggest employer. 14.5% of working-age adults in the state are employed by the healthcare industry, accounting for 293,000 people in total. 

However, salaries are fairly low; the average healthcare worker in Louisiana makes just $37,000 annually, approximately 10% less than the average state income of $41,000. For comparison, the overall average salary for healthcare in the United States is nearly $42,000.


A sugarcane field in Louisiana. Image credit:

Agriculture is a major part of Louisiana’s economy. The state is the second largest producer in the country of both sugarcane and sweet potatoes. 60% of agricultural revenue comes from crops; other products include rice, soybeans, cotton, corn, and tomatoes. The remaining 40% comes from livestock, mostly cattle and calves.


Louisiana’s geographical position on the Gulf of Mexico makes commercial fishing one of the top industries for the state. It is the biggest producer of shrimp in the entire country, but catfish, crayfish, and oysters are also major commodities, contributing to $331 in annual revenue from fishing. 25% of seafood consumed in the United States comes from Louisiana, which can produce up to two billion pounds of fish per year.

Economic Growth In Louisiana

From 2017 to 2018, Louisiana’s GDP grew 1.1%. While any economic growth is a good sign, Louisiana is actually falling behind most other states. This GDP growth is lower than 40 of the 50 U.S. states. The only state whose GDP did not grow in 2018 was Alaska, which experienced a 0.3% reduction in GDP.


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