“Weak City” metros
Aspirational metros
• The New Orleans metro has indeed embarked on a
new trajectory, with signs of a more competitive
economy and expanded ame...
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Job loss and recovery since the onset of the Great Recession
Percent change in jo...
Source: Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity.
Note: Data is not available for eight of the 57 “weak city” metros.
In...
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Census & American Community Survey 2011.
Educational attainment
for the population ...
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Business Owners & Population Estimates Program.
* Receipts data is estimated for Hi...
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics: Annual Survey of Jails; Prisoners Series.
Persons held in jail
per 100,000 populatio...
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Census & American Community Survey 2011.
Population living in poverty
for populatio...
Sources: National Center for Charitable Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau.
Registered arts and culture nonprofit organizat...
Feen converted to open water
since 1932.
Sources: Brady Couvillion, John Barras, Gregory Steyer, William Sleavin, Michelle...
Water quality
Source: U.S. Geological Survey.
Salinity of groundwater at select sampling sites
Chloride, dissolved, in mil...
• The New Orleans metro has indeed embarked on a
new trajectory, with signs of a more competitive
economy and expanded ame...
• The positive outlook for the regional economy
across a diversity of industries holds the potential
for increasing upward...
• Leaders and residents must sustain and
build on these reforms, by working
together in broad coalitions that support
cont...
• Coastal restoration and flood risk
mitigation is challenging work that will
involve ingenuity and innovation, which
can ...
New Orleans Index at Eight
New Orleans Index at Eight
New Orleans Index at Eight
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New Orleans Index at Eight

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It has been eight years since Katrina struck and the levees failed. And in just two more years at the 10th anniversary, the nation will turn its attention to our region to see whether the massive federal and charitable investments here have paid off. So we’re taking stock now. Where have we made progress? Where do we have more work to do? And has the New Orleans metro really broken from its historic path and taken up a new trajectory akin to Austin, Raleigh, and Nashville?

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  • It has been eight years now since Katrina struck and the levees failed. And in just two more years at the 10 th anniversary, the nation will turn its attention to our region to see whether the massive federal and charitable investments here have paid off. So we’re taking stock now. Where have we made progress? Where do we have more work to do? And has the New Orleans metro really broken from its historic path and taken up a new trajectory akin to Austin, Raleigh, and Nashville?
  • In the New Orleans Index at 8, we compared the new Orleans metro’s performance with a peer group of post-industrial metros with which we were identified before 2000. These had slow or negative economic growth, and high poverty rates, unemployment, etc.
  • And we also compared our performance with aspirational Southern metros that have had greater than 10 percent job growth since 2000. Here you can see the racial/ethnic breakdown for the working age population of each. This age group contributes most to our regional prosperity, and the profile of the New Orleans metro is important to keep in mind, when we look at some of our indicators.
  • Looking at 28 different indictors in the New Orleans Index, we found that the New Orleans metro has indeed embarked on a new trajectory, with signs of a more competitive economy. Yet on several metrics, we are not performing as well as the nation or the aspirational Southern metros. Here are some of those indicators.
  • The New Orleans metro weathered the recession well and recovered jobs at rates similar to aspirational metros, now at 1 percent above our 2008 job level, while the nation and weaker post-industrial metros remained more than 2 percent below their 2008 job levels.
  • Entrepreneurship continues to boom -- reaching 56 percent higher than the nation and 33 percent higher than aspirational metros.
  • The New Orleans metro has gained adults with a bachelor’s degree since 2000 but at a slower rate than the nation -- only 3 percent compared to 4 percent nationwide.
  • Nationwide, we’ve seen decreases in male employment rates over the last several decades as male-dominated industries like manufacturing have declined, and we’ve seen increases in female employment rates as we’ve grown jobs in industries like health care. In the New Orleans metro today, 75 percent of working age white men are employed, which is on par with the aspirational metros and higher than the post-industrial metros. In contrast, only 53 percent of working age black men are employed in the New Orleans metro, which is on par with the weaker metros and significantly lower than the aspirational Southern metros where 61 percent of black men are employed. Because African Americans represent a particularly large share of our working age population, this means we have a larger share of underutilized potential workers.
  • Minority-owned businesses are important because they are more likely than other employers to hire minorities. On this indicator we have mixed results. Our concentration of minority owned businesses is greater than the national average even when accounting for our larger minority population. On the downside, the possible benefits of these businesses are not what they could be because the share of all receipts going to minority-owned businesses is stagnant at only 2 percent.
  • In an era of constrained public resources, incarceration is an expensive response to arrest, and research has shown that incarcerating people who pose little threat can result in making them a greater risk to public safety after their release. Incarceration rates in Orleans Parish have fallen post-Katrina but are still several times higher than the national average.
  • Poverty is not just a problem for the city. Poverty rates are growing in the suburban parishes as well. And today, the majority of the metro’s poor lives in suburbs.
  • On quality of life, New Orleans has increased the total number of arts and culture nonprofits despite a smaller population to support them. We now have more than double the national rate of arts and culture nonprofits per capita.
  • Fully 29 percent of the coastal wetlands that protect the New Orleans metro have converted to open water since 1932.
  • And inside the levees, saltwater is encroaching. Of these six sites where water has been sampled since 1951, three of them have converted to saltwater.
  • We can build on progress to date by continuing to grow a robust economy that includes larger segments of the population, while at the same time tackling critical environmental challenges. We have substantial assets in this fight.
  • Our assessment of the economy indicates that it is diverse enough and deep enough to integrate workers across skill levels. With expected growth in petrochemical manufacturing and other industries, there is significant potential for upward mobility. But to join the ranks of aspirational metros, we will need to foster a high level of interaction across groups that creates results in our economic indicators. Increased commerce with minority-owned businesses driven by the private sector could spur expanded employment and training opportunities for African American residents in particular.
  • The public education, health care, and criminal justice reforms underway have significant potential to raise standards of living. Leaders and residents can sustain and build on these reforms, by continuously learning and improving them as they go. Transparency and objective data and research will be key to optimizing these reform efforts.
  • Finally, coastal restoration has the potential to both grow economic diversification and provide employment across a variety of skill levels. Restoration work can stimulate the adaptation of older industries and hone economic expertise for export to other regions and countries.
  • The New Orleans Index at Eight reveals that indeed on some measures we are now in the ranks of other fast growing Southern metros, and there are indicators where we have more work for do. The Index also points to significant assets we have for growing human potential and increasing environmental sustainability. The purpose of the New Orleans Index at Eight is to give New Orleanians and all our partners -- state, federal, and philanthropic -- facts, so that we understand where we are today and where we might go from here.
  • New Orleans Index at Eight

    1. 1. “Weak City” metros
    2. 2. Aspirational metros
    3. 3. • The New Orleans metro has indeed embarked on a new trajectory, with signs of a more competitive economy and expanded amenities. • Yet on several key economic, social, and environmental metrics, the New Orleans metro is not performing as well as the nation or aspirational metros. • Leaders can build on progress to date, by sustaining essential reforms and continuing to build a robust economy that includes larger segments of the population, while simultaneously tackling critical environmental challenges. Summary
    4. 4. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job loss and recovery since the onset of the Great Recession Percent change in jobs relative to 2008 The New Orleans metro has weathered the Great Recession well and recovered jobs at rates similar to aspirational metros.
    5. 5. Source: Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. Note: Data is not available for eight of the 57 “weak city” metros. Individuals starting up businesses Per 100,000 adult population (three-year averages) Entrepreneurship continues to expand – reaching 56 percent higher than the nation and 33 percent higher than aspirational metros.
    6. 6. Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Census & American Community Survey 2011. Educational attainment for the population 25 years and older The New Orleans metro lags the nation in the gain of adults with a bachelor’s degree with growth of 3 percent from 2000 to 2011 compared to 4 percent nationally.
    7. 7. Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Business Owners & Population Estimates Program. * Receipts data is estimated for Hispanics in 2002. Minority-owned businesses and receipts Relative to minority share of the population As the metro’s minority share of the population fell post- Katrina, the share of minority-owned businesses continued to rise, but benefits have not been fully realized.
    8. 8. Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics: Annual Survey of Jails; Prisoners Series. Persons held in jail per 100,000 population Despite decreases post-Katrina, jail incarceration rates in Orleans are higher than the rest of the metro, and several times greater the national rate as of 2011.
    9. 9. Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Census & American Community Survey 2011. Population living in poverty for population for whom poverty status is determined The share of the metro’s poor that lives in suburbs continues to expand, reaching 56 percent by 2011.
    10. 10. Sources: National Center for Charitable Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau. Registered arts and culture nonprofit organizations per 100,000 population The number of arts and culture nonprofits has grown to 34 organizations per 100,000 residents — more than double the national rate of 13 per 100,000.
    11. 11. Feen converted to open water since 1932. Sources: Brady Couvillion, John Barras, Gregory Steyer, William Sleavin, Michelle Fischer, Holly Beck, Nadine Trahan, Brad Griffin, and David Heckman, “Land area change in coastal Louisiana from 1932 to 2010,” U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3164, (2011). Note: 1932 and 1956 land area data are derived from a different source of imagery than later years. Thus, there are issues of comparability with these time frames. Fully 29 percent of the coastal wetlands that protect the New Orleans metro have converted to open water since 1932.
    12. 12. Water quality Source: U.S. Geological Survey. Salinity of groundwater at select sampling sites Chloride, dissolved, in milligrams per liter Six sampled sites show increases in the concentration of chloride. As of 2008, three have converted to saltwater – an indicator of saltwater encroachment.
    13. 13. • The New Orleans metro has indeed embarked on a new trajectory, with signs of a more competitive economy and expanded amenities. • Yet on several key economic, social, and environmental metrics, the New Orleans metro is not performing as well as the nation or aspirational metros. • Leaders can build on progress to date, by sustaining essential reforms and continuing to build a robust economy that includes larger segments of the population, while simultaneously tackling critical environmental challenges. Summary
    14. 14. • The positive outlook for the regional economy across a diversity of industries holds the potential for increasing upward mobility. • Ongoing engagement and coordination of industry clusters with workforce development, education, and social service providers can alleviate workforce shortages while maximizing opportunities for local residents. • Joining the ranks of aspirational metros will depend on fostering a high level of collaboration and interaction across groups, that becomes evident in economic activity. The metro’s economy is diverse enough and deep enough to integrate workers across skill levels. Photo sources: http://www.ngpowereu.com/news/alternative-renewable-energy-north-sea/, http://burgundystreet.com/2010/01/19/hillebrand-buys-rival-firm/, and http://www.kdfluidpower.com/services/system%20-solutions/.
    15. 15. • Leaders and residents must sustain and build on these reforms, by working together in broad coalitions that support continuous learning and improvement. • Mid-course corrections and improvements require trust, which is best fostered through heightened transparency and data availability to inform decisionmaking. The public education, health care, and criminal justice reforms underway have significant potential to raise standards of living, and build a safer and more just community. Photo sources:©istock.com/Daniel Laflor, ©istock.com/Nikolay Mamluke, ©istock.com/Brasil2, and ©istock.com/Mike Manzano.
    16. 16. • Coastal restoration and flood risk mitigation is challenging work that will involve ingenuity and innovation, which can yield long-term economic spillovers in the form of industrial modernization and transformation. • The pioneering collaboration underway across Southeast Louisiana can maximize economic benefits and position the region to be globally competitive in rapidly expanding sustainable industries. Coastal restoration and mitigation activities hold the potential to not only reduce flood risk but transform the economy. Photo sources:©istock.com/Jitalia17 and ©istock.com/Anyka.

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