Dear friends and colleagues,

The season of thanks is upon us, and there is much to be grateful for. 
The population of New Orleans grew 2.6 percent from 2012-2013 — outpacing national population growth of .7 percent during the same time. 
No doubt, our strong economy is a key factor in our population growth. Jobs in the metro grew at a faster clip than nationwide, up 2.32 percent from September 2013 to September 2014.
With a massive petrochemical and manufacturing expansion underway in Southeast Louisiana, thousands more jobs will be created. The majority of these jobs will be in occupations that require a high school degree complemented by various levels of training — such as welders, machinists, and pump operators — and offer a high median wage between $15 and $35 an hour.
But filling these jobs will still be a challenge. Too many adults in our metro don't have a high school degree. In Orleans Parish, 15 percent of adults 25 years and older lack a high school degree, and in Jefferson that number is 16 percent! Even in St. Tammany, the share of adults without a high school degree is on par with the nation at 13 percent.
With this in mind, we are thankful for commitments by City and private industry leaders to equitable strategies that aim to train and connect people to jobs and careers that will support their families.
Last, but certainly not least, here at the Data Center we are thankful to be gearing up for three large publications in 2015. When the world turns its attention our way at the 5th anniversary of the oil spill and the 10th anniversary of Katrina, we will be poised to provide the most reliable, up-to-date data on our region's recovery and progress. We are also strengthening our ties to New Orleans' youth-serving community so that we can bring you a totally new publication, The Youth Index.
At this time of year, we would be remiss if we did not express our gratitude to our funders.* These generous individuals and organizations make it possible for us to bring you the data you need to make informed decisions. 
With gratitude for your enduring commitment to and love for New Orleans, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving,

The Data Center 
Whitney Soenksen, Vicki Mack, Nihal Shrinath, George Hobor, and Allison Plyer

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics, "Who Lives in New Orleans and Metro Parishes Now?" and "The Transformative Possibility of the New 'Energy Boom' in Southeast Louisiana"

*blue moon fund, Baptist Community Ministries, Mike and Janis Eckert, Ford Foundation, Foundation for Louisiana, Greater New Orleans Foundation, GPOA Foundation, Institute of Mental Hygiene, Leslie Jacobs, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Kabacoff Family Foundation, Keller Family Foundation,  Laitram, Methodist Health System Foundation, Roger Ogden, Rosamary Foundation, Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, Waggonner & Ball Architects, Walton Family Foundation, United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Zemurray Foundation
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