Wins and Losses: A Look at the New Orleans Job Market This Year

NEW ORLEANS – It was a rocky start to 2017: In the first quarter of 2017, just two of eight parishes in the New Orleans metro area reported employment growth over the same time last year.

The winners were St. Tammany Parish, which added 605 jobs and St. John the Baptist Parish, which added 354 jobs.

Orleans Parish lost the highest number of jobs—2,990 jobs—in the first quarter of 2017 (1.5 percent) compared to the first quarter of 2016.

That was followed by St. Charles Parish, which lost 2,953 jobs (10.9 percent). Jefferson lost 1,132 jobs (0.6 percent) and Plaquemines Parish lost 1,013 jobs (7.4 percent) over the same time last year.

Job losses at a smaller scale were reported in St. James Parish, with 187 jobs lost (2.4 percent) and St. Bernard Parish, with 75 jobs lost (0.7 percent) for the first quarter of 2017.

Over the next three quarters of 2017, however, employment grew slightly in New Orleans, increasing 0.2 percent year to date.

That’s according to the Metropolitan Report by The University of New Orleans Division of Business and Economic Research, released this month.

The report uses figures and estimates for economic Indicators from the third quarter of 2016 through third quarter of 2019. The metro area encompasses eight parishes in the report: Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany.

Job losses in information, oil and gas

The most significant job losses in the New Orleans area was in information, with a 13 percent loss. As oil and gas prices remain low, the mining and logging sector incurred a 8 percent job loss locally. State and local government jobs decreased 7 percent and 6 percent respectively, while nationally, state jobs remained unchanged and local government jobs grew 1 percent.

Other sectors that decreased locally but increased nationally include professional, scientific and technical, wholesale trade, management of companies and transportation, warehouse and utilities. National employment growth outpaced the local area in leisure and hospitality (2 percent vs. 1 percent) and financial activities (2 percent vs. 0.3 percent).

Bankruptcies in Louisiana increased during 2017 by 9 percent year to date, although that is still lower than the nation in terms of bankruptcies per capita.

Bright spots: construction, educational services

In the third quarter of 2017, the metro area added 1,467 jobs over the same quarter last year and 1,144 jobs for the year to date. The largest industries in terms of number of jobs 7 are leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, health care and social assistance and retail trade.

Employment growth in the local area outpaced the national growth in several sectors. Administrative support and waste management increase 6 percent locally (vs. 3 percent nationally), construction (4 percent vs. 3 percent), educational services (3 percent vs. 2 peace) and manufacturing (2 percent vs. 0.4 percent).

The average weekly wage in New Orleans increased to $995 in the first quarter of 2017, up from $951 from the same time last year. The New Orleans area personal income grew 2.5 percent, slightly lower than the U.S. 2.9 percent growth.

After spiking in 2014, the New Orleans area unemployment rate has fluctuated downwards. In the third quarter of 2017, the New Orleans area had an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent, a decrease from 6.0 percent reported in the same quarter last year. In Q3, 2017, the national unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, down from 4.9 percent in Q3 2016.

Louisiana initial and continued unemployment claims show positive signs in the labor market. Year to date, initial claims decreased nearly 11 percent.

Tourism still booming

In 2016, the New Orleans area welcomed 10.4 million visitors, an increase of 7 percent over the 9.8 million visitors in 2015. Visitor spending reached $7.4 billion, an increase of 5 percent from the previous year ($7.1 billion)

Hotels in Orleans and Jefferson parishes have benefitted from a strong tourism industry. During 2016, room sales totaled $1.25 billion more than doubled the sales recorded ten years ago. However that figure represents a slight decrease of 0.2 percent from 2015. During the most recent quarter in 2017, hotel room sales were down 1.1 percent year to date.

To read the full report, click here.

-By Jenny Peterson, Associate News Editor, Biz New Orleans

Categories: Today’s Business News