New Orleans fared better than any other metro area in the U.S. in recovering from the recession during the second quarter of 2012, according to a report released Tuesday by the Brookings Institute. That same report put Baton Rouge in the middle of the pack in terms of the comeback, coming in 49th out of the 100 largest cities.
This is the second quarter in a row New Orleans was the top-performing metro area in the Brookings MetroMonitor report, which measures factors such as unemployment, home prices and output, measured against a city’s lowest economic point. Unlike most other U.S. metros, which bottomed out during the recession in 2009, the low point for the Crescent City economy came after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The massive ongoing hurricane recovery and rebuilding efforts provided a boost to the city during the national recession.
But economist Loren Scott said he’s suspicious of the New Orleans numbers, which he doesn’t think are accurate. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, metro New Orleans had 8,700 more jobs in February than in the previous year. But by July, the year-to-year numbers showed the city had lost 3,000 jobs when compared with 2011 — a swing of nearly 12,000 jobs in five months.