Partly because the city had just begun to recovery from Hurricane Katrina when the Great Recession began, it suffered less job loss relative to its pre-recession state and GDP actually grew 3.9% between 2008 and 2011. No other southern metropolitan area cracked 2% in the same period.
Charles Davidson, writing for EconSouth, offers the following evidence of New Orleans’ resilience in the face of the Great Recession. Chart 1 shows that it lost a smaller percentage of its jobs than the U.S. as a whole.
This is even more significant as it looks, as New Orleans had been in economic decline for decades before Katrina. Davidson reports that “the economy in New Orleans has reversed decades of decline and outperformed the nation and other southern metropolitan areas. Consider: the job growth in New Orleans shown in Chart 2 may not look impressive, but compare it to the extraordinary declines of its neighbors.
Thanks to greater diversification of its economy, record tourism, and rising investment money, the city may be setting itself up for a revival.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.