Bloomberg: N.O. area is one of the nation's biggest boomtowns

Published: Apr. 30, 2013 at 2:21 AM CDT|Updated: May. 7, 2013 at 2:24 AM CDT
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New Orleans, La. - From great food to the culture, the New Orleans area isn't hard to sell.

Researchers, though, with Bloomberg rankings looked even deeper by sorting through census and gross domestic product data.

They found the New Orleans, Metairie and Kenner area make up the second biggest boomtown in the United States.

"These are numbers about population and growth and we know that we are the fastest improving city in the country," says Michael Hecht of GNO Inc.

Researchers found that the New Orleans area gained more residents than any other in the U.S. from 2007 till 2011.

"We're back to 94 percent of our Pre-Katrina population with about 1.2 million and they're coming back here because simply as a family, an individual or as a company, you can do more for less here," says Hecht.

The unemployment rate is 5.9 percent, which is below the national average.

Researchers also pointed to plenty of job growth with heavy construction throughout the city.

"Of course, you have the medical corridor. That's thousands of jobs for people that are going to be building 3 billion dollars of new healthcare facilities. All along the corridor literally tens of billions of industrial projects are being driven by low national gas and oil prices," says Hecht.

Tourism numbers were certainly a factor in helping to rank the New Orleans region so high on the booming list.

"In 2012, we welcomed 9 million travelers which was more than any other year since 2004 and it's by far our highlight year since Katrina," says Kelly Schulz of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Schulz says those travelers spent 6 billion dollars in New Orleans in 2012.

Schulz says when large companies are shopping around for their next convention destination, they look for some of the same things as the Bloomberg researchers.

"Imagine if you're planning a meeting for 30 thousand medical professionals or school teachers, you need to know that New Orleans has the infrastructure, population and staffing to handle that," says Schulz.

"It's really important that our message is targeted broadly and that's what we are trying to do," says Hecht.

The only area in the U.S. booming more than New Orleans is the Austin, Texas area.

The Raliegh-Cary, North Carolina area rounds out Bloomberg's top three boomtowns.