Photo: Aaron Gonsoulin
Lafayette residents sit and eat at Hub City Dinner. Aside from the food service, the medical field is the most popular job in the area for 2019, according to Ben Powers of Developing Lafayette.
The community of Lafayette employs over 200,000 workers, according to the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA), but when it comes to the strongest fields, the food and healthcare industries remains at the top.
LEDA monitors and helps recruit businesses to come to Lafayette as well as monitors tax data.
According to LEDA’s website, it provides business databases from a variety of sources, most of which can be customized to meet anyone’s specific needs when it comes to understanding the way business in the area operates.
Stacey Zawacki, manager of communication and public relations for LEDA, said the numbers suggest healthcare and hospitality see a steady improvement year after year.
“The data says that in 2019, the healthcare industry employed 30,963 workers, a 850 worker increase from last year,” Zawack said.
Zawack added after healthcare, the food service industry employed 22,500 workers in 2019, a 900 employment increase from 2018.
According to Developing Lafayette owner Ben Powers, despite many openings and closures, businesses in Lafayette are still in good hands.
“I think it is still good,” Powers said. “I don’t see anything that would suggest we are in decline, except for the oilfield, because they are always in a weird spot.”
Developing Lafayette was created by Powers after he moved to Lafayette in 2010 when he noticed the area was thriving, and he wanted to capture that for the community.
“There were so many businesses and construction, and there were a lot of projects happening around town,” Powers said. “And being new, I wanted to know what these projects were and what was happening.”
Powers said despite the influx of business in the Lafayette area, a lot of them are from entrepreneurs in the community that are looking for ways to improve the Lafayette area.
“To own a business, to start a business and to expand businesses that are already here, is why this city is so popular,” Powers said.
According to Powers, businesses owners see Lafayette and its strong community roots as one of the best places in Louisiana to start a business.
“The food and the culture are two main reasons,” Powers said. “I hate to say this because it’s a generalized term, but it’s a melting pot.”
Powers said the No. 1 industry in Lafayette is the restaurant industry.
“I feel like there is a new restaurant opening every five minutes,” Powers said. “ I don’t think that is an actual statistic, but it’s the biggest industry here because food here is such a priority.”
Along with restaurants in Lafayette, Data USA said some of the largest industries in Lafayette also include health care and social assistance, which employs 9,135 people, retail trade, which employs 7,564 people, and accommodation are some of the highest paying industries. Mining, quarrying, and the oil and gas extraction employs a staggering 59,024, the data said.
With food and the medical industries being two of the biggest and most economically healthy fields in Lafayette, Powers said they both go hand-in-hand.
“If you eat all of this good, hearty food, you’re going to need a cardiologist,” Powers said. “And the cardiology field is starting to grow, so it all works out.”