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UNO Report Details Economic Progress In New Orleans Region

A study by the University of New Orleans shows the regional economy is robust in some sectors. But, there is some room for improvement.

Unemployment in the second quarter of this year was down a few percentage points — at 5.2 percent — meaning more New Orleanians are finding work.

Tourism has seen a 7 percent increase in employment. There are more people coming through Louis Armstrong International Airport, which has seen a 7 percent increase in passengers and flights. The Port of New Orleans saw a 10 percent hike in cruise passengers. And hotels will be coming online to accommodate more visitors.

John Williams is director of UNO’s Metropolitan Report from the business and economic research department.

"We've had enormous growth since Katrina," he says. "We had 805 restaurants prior to Hurricane Katrina. We're fast approaching 1,400. That's an enormous increase. Fine dining is doing tremendously well. But in order to satisfy that growth and keep it going we're going to need quite a few more employees in those industries."

On the down side is population, hovering around 92 percent of the pre-Katrina numbers. The population has grown only about one percent each year since 2011. And people aren't earning as much. The average weekly wage was about $20 less than last year.

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