This months summary has been released with some somewhat positive stats.
HousingThats the good news. Now the bad:
• Housing construction continues to increase, indicated by the fact that new residential housing
permits exceeded pre-Katrina levels in both October and November for the first time since the storm.
• Home demolitions continue to trend upward: 649 additional homes were torn down over the last
month, bringing the total number of demolitions in the metropolitan area to over 4,200 houses.
• The number of residential properties for sale dropped slighted over the holidays, particularly in the
hurricane-affected parishes. This tightening of the market could signal strengthening of real estate prices.
• One more hotel reopened in New Orleans this past month. Now fully 90% of all hotels in the city are
back in business.
• Traffic at the Louis Armstrong International Airport continued to tick upward in October and
November as nearly 300,000 passengers both arrived and departed in each of those two months.
• Louisiana unemployment claims trended slightly upward in the last four weeks of 2006.
• Recently released figures for the first quarter of 2006 substantiate what is well known locally – that
average weekly wages have increased since the storm in many sectors. Average weekly wages have
jumped across almost all sectors including accommodations & food services, construction, educational
services, finance and insurance, utilities, and public administration. But wages have remained stagnant or
fallen in a few categories such as agriculture, and arts & entertainment.
InfrastructureWhat can we conclude from this? By the looks of things, the private sector is out pacing the public sector. As for the ramifications, I'll leave that to the reader.
• Infrastructure recovery is largely at a standstill with only one new school opened in December, no new
hospitals, no new libraries, and only one new child-care center in New Orleans.
• The level of public transit service has remained unchanged for the last twelve months. Just 49% of all
public transportation routes and 17 percent of buses are in operation.