Forbes: N.O. is 6th in the country for middle-class job creation

Published: Nov. 16, 2013 at 1:56 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2013 at 2:27 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS - rates the New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner area as sixth in the country for creating middle-class jobs.

"We're winning in every way you can possibly think about winning," said Patrick Comer, founder and CEO of Federated Sample. "We'll be doubling revenue again next year. Every part of our business is growing at a rapid scale."

The technology startup Federated Sample has grown to 45 employees after just 3.5 years in business, and they're still growing.

"We're already budgeting for next year and we're looking at 12 to 15 new hires," said Comer.

It's part of the middle-class job growth the Southeast Louisiana region is experiencing that Greater New Orleans Inc. President Michael Hecht says the rest of the country needs.

According to, only eight metro areas with a population of more than 1 million people tout more middle-income jobs today than in 2007.

New Orleans comes in at number six with more than 177,000 middle-skill jobs.

"It was about 1.7 percent over the time period, and that might not sound like much but the rest of the country is actually shrinking. That's why we're number 6," said Hecht.

The top four cities are all in Texas. To see the top ten list, click here.

Hecht says the entire Houston-to-Florida coast is benefiting from friendly business environments, lower energy costs and diversifying industries.

"We're seeing they're hiring about 70 percent of their employees locally, and about 30 percent are coming in. I like that mix," said Hecht.

The jobs are attracting locals and out-of-towners such as newly employed Evan Judge and Betsy Leaverton.

"I started here about four months ago, I started July 23," said Judge, a sales analyst at Federated Sample.

"I've been here about six weeks, so I started on Sept. 30," said Leaverton, a project analyst at Federated Sample.

Both new hires moved to New Orleans with the anticipation that they could land a job.

"What's great about New Orleans is the talent level of the individuals here is much higher than in Los Angeles and New York, because who is willing to come to a startup is very, very different here," said Comer. "The type of individuals that we get are just a much higher caliber than I was ever able to get access to in other cities."

"It's just a fun place to be as a young person, plus there's a lot going on in the technology field which is where I wanted to come to," said Judge.