As the largest city in the US state of Louisiana and one of the largest cities in the American South, New Orleans has historically been a major port of entry to the county. This partly accounts for its continued status as a significant player in international trade. In terms of import, coffee, sugar and bananas are big business whereas the export sector is dominated by rice, cotton, corn, oil and petrochemicals.
Beyond its historic prominence as a port, New Orleans boasts a surprisingly diverse economy. Other important sectors driving the Crescent City’s economy include energy, manufacturing, healthcare, education and tourism. Some of the notable employers operating in New Orleans include Ochsner Health Systems, Whitney Holding Corp, Boh Bros Construction and Superior Energy Services, the Entergy Corporation and the internationally-renowned Tulane University.
Tourism and related hospitality industries have played a notable role in the city’s economy in recent history. In fact, the income generated by visitors to the city largely led the post-Hurricane Katrina recovery. It is estimated that tourism contributes around USD 9 billion per year to NOLA’s economy.
Job market in New Orleans
The job market in New Orleans is fairly robust and has shown impressive recovery since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. That said, unemployment remains higher than the national average in New Orleans. Prospective residents of the Crescent City should not be put off though, as job opportunities are available for those with a background in particular industries.
Those with skills and experience in the education and healthcare sectors will find plenty of exciting career prospects in New Orleans as these areas, in particular, have shown a remarkable capacity for growth. With the recent upturn in the New Orleans property market, its construction industry is also flourishing in the city.
Increasing numbers of businesses are also seeing the value in establishing operations in New Orleans because of the low costs as well as various incentives offered by the local government. In addition, the presence of good universities in the area means that these businesses have easy access to a pool of educated workers.
Work culture in New Orleans
The reason so many people from within the USA and overseas are attracted to New Orleans is because of the lifestyle opportunities and favourable cost of living. Businesses here understand that and try to take steps to ensure that their employees are able to strike a good work-life balance.
Naturally, work culture varies from one sector to the next as well as between individual companies. Generally speaking, the big corporations operating in New Orleans are known to offer talented employees great benefits packages including transport allowances and contributions towards medical insurance as well as opportunities for training and subsequent career progression.
Local government in Louisiana have also offered lots of support to small businesses looking to set themselves up in New Orleans. As such, the city has become a popular place for start-ups. Employees at these smaller enterprises benefit from greater flexibility in terms of opportunities to work from home, Flexi-time and the option of job sharing.
► For some help drawing up a budget, check out our Cost of Living in New Orleans page
Are you an expat living in New Orleans?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to New Orleans. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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