New Orleans Leisure and Hospitality Industry Posts Job Gains Over the Past Year

The New Orleans leisure and hospitality industry posted a net gain of 4,300 jobs over the past year, according to the August 2012 edition of the University of New Orleans Metropolitan Report. Overall the leisure and hospitality industry as a whole has reached nearly full recovery, as it currently stands at 91% of pre-Katrina employment. The report, compiled by UNO’s Division of Business and Economic Research, is a quarterly publication containing analysis of recent trends and the short term outlook for the New Orleans metro area. 

Private education also posted an increase of approximately 4,300 jobs over the past year, resulting from growth in private educational services and reflecting a seasonal trend of summer hiring in education. Slight gains were also posted within the health care and social assistance sector (500 jobs). 

Here are some other highlights of the August 2012 edition of Metropolitan Report:

  • Aggregate job counts for the metropolitan area rose slightly to 525,500 as of June 2012. While the change did not considerably move overall employment closer to the pre-Katrina level (still at 87%), approximately 1,500 additional jobs are now supported in the local economy since the last anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
  • Over the first half of 2012, the New Orleans area unemployment rate has been moving closer to that of the U.S. (8.3%). The local unemployment rate most recently averaged 7.4% according to second-quarter reports, a slight decline from the 7.7% rate noted at this time last year.
  • As observed year-over-year since the worst of level of 2005, hotel room capacity continued to expand over the past year and has nearly reached pre-Katrina capacity (at 95%). The New Orleans area hotel occupancy rate was up 1.3% in comparison to the first half of 2011, and hotel room rates averaged 9.4% higher in the first half of 2012 than over the same period of 2011.
  • While many residents migrated to suburban areas after Hurricane Katrina, the population of Orleans parish appears to be recovering; it is currently estimated to have reached 80% of its pre-Katrina population. Population recovery is also apparent in Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes, where the estimated number of residents now amount to 84% and 64% of the respective number of pre-Katrina residents.

The New Orleans metropolitan area includes Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany parishes. 

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