- Louisiana has the greatest concentration of crude oil refineries, natural gas processing plants and petrochemical production facilities in the Western Hemisphere. The Oil Industry is considered as one of the biggest and one of the most important industries in Louisiana if things like taxes paid amount, impact on Economy and number of people getting employment is taken into consideration. The Louisiana Oil Industry's history can be traced back from the beginning of the twentieth century and the first oil well was discovered in Jennings Field in the year 1901.
- Louisiana is America's third largest producer of petroleum and the third leading state in petroleum refining.
- Louisiana pioneered offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling. The first well ever drilled out of sight of land was off the Louisiana coast. Most of the techniques used in offshore oil exploration around the world today were developed in Louisiana.
- Louisiana is America's second largest producer of natural gas.
- Louisiana is among the top ten states in the production of sugar cane (2nd), sweet potatoes (2nd), rice (3rd), cotton (5th) and pecans (5th).
Louisiana Human Development Index has increased since 1990. Life span increased more than two years during this 17-year period, from 73.1 years to 75.3 years. The rate at which young people are graduating from high school improved markedly since 1990, when almost one-third of those 25 years and older did not have a high school diploma or its equivalent, to today, when that rate has gone down to one-fifth. The attainment of bachelor’s and graduate or professional degrees edged up slightly. Inflation-adjusted median earnings in Louisiana, defined as the wages and salaries of all full- and part-time workers over age 16, barely increased during this period. They fell during the first half of the 2000s and then grew in the last two years. Median personal earnings in Louisiana now are $24,376—$4,264 lower than the national average of $28,640.
The racial earnings gap is significant. Twenty-five percent of African American families have household incomes under $15,000 per year, compared to 7 percent of white families. At the other end of the spectrum, the proportion flips. Nearly 25 percent of white families have household incomes over $100,000 per year, compared to 7 percent of African American families. Nearly one in three African American adults age 25 and over in Louisiana has not graduated from high school. Louisiana African American women have wages and salaries typical of those that prevailed in the U.S. in the 1950s.
The economic disparity between blacks and whites in the state is illustrated by the following chart.