NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana’s eight metropolitan areas included two of the nation’s fastest-growing economies and two of its fastest-shrinking in 2015.

Lake Charles’ economy grew 8.3 percent, third-fastest in the nation according to numbers released Tuesday by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. That growth was boosted by an increase in nondurable goods manufacturing, tied to oil and chemical refining. Baton Rouge grew 5.4 percent, 17th-fastest nationwide, also boosted by nondurable goods, but even more by finance, insurance, real estate and leasing.

Houma-Thibodaux had the nation’s second-worst economy, shrinking 7.8 percent as the oil bust cut into white-collar sectors, transportation, utilities and construction. The Lafayette-area economy was the nation’s fifth-worst, shrinking 3.8 percent.

Monroe and New Orleans posted above-average growth, expanding 2.8 and 2.6 percent, respectively. New Orleans was also boosted by nondurable manufacturing, while Monroe saw a big expansion in the computer-driven information sector.

Shreveport-Bossier City was nearly flat, growing 0.2 percent, while Alexandria saw its economy shrink 1.6, also one of the 50 worst performances nationwide.

The nation’s 382 metro areas grew 2.5 percent, on average, in 2015.

Gross domestic product seeks to measure all economic output of an area.

VIAThe Associated Press
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