Forbes names NOLA number 13 for best big cities for jobs

May 9 2012 | Latest News
Technology and energy are big sectors, not just oil...

May 8, 2012

Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News

METAIRIE, La.-- Workers tap away on computers, eager to come up with new computing and engineering ideas at the offices of Geocent.

"We do a lot of work with NASA on the new manned space flight program, with the military on different computer systems, as well as other technology," said Geocent CEO Bobby Savoie.

The company started in 2008 with 75 employees, but since then, that number has tripled to more than 200 employees - and they're not done yet.

"We're just always looking for good talented individuals," said Keith Alphonso, Geocent's Chief Technology Officer.

It is just one example of a growing number of jobs in the New Orleans metro area, which helped it land at number 13 for best big cities for jobs in Forbes. The magazine called the metro area's job market "resurgent."

"New Orleans is a very strong brand. People who haven't been here, want to be here. When people visit here, they want to figure out how to live here," said Janet Speyrer of UNO's Division of Business and Economic Research.

Speyrer said the greatest growth in jobs lies in technology and energy, and not just oil.

"Everybody wants to attribute it to the oil industry, and we have been a place where oil has been an important part of our economy," she said, "but I think it really was all along oil and natural gas, and it's oil that's high in price and natural gas that's very low in price at this time."

Also helping the job growth: state incentives, which have helped to attract not just movie productions, but have also been used to bring in some of the very tech companies behind the job growth.

"Our image around the country has improved dramatically and that, combined with the tax credits, has made it much easier to build a technology company here," Savoie said.

The Forbes ranking is based on information gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They looked at past and current job growth, as well as long-term trends.