Industry and Workforce

Water management accounts for a sizeable number of well-paying jobs in Southeast Louisiana. This section describes employment trends, wages, and the composition of the workforce in the water management cluster. By comparing these industries in Southeast Louisiana with the same industries at the national level and across a set of comparison metros, the data below illustrates how Southeast Louisiana is doing on key dimensions of employment in water management.

Industry Job Growth
Why is this important?

Job growth is an indicator commonly used to assess the pace of economic growth in a metro or region. A Location Quotient (LQ) is a measure of industry concentration, calculated as an industry’s share of total local employment divided by the same industry’s share of total national employment. An LQ over 1.0 suggests that the industry may serve external demand. A region’s economic strength is closely tied to its ability to generate exports, and therefore, location quotients greater than 1.0 usually indicate leading industry specializations. Comparing job growth and LQs helps to gauge Southeast Louisiana's water management cluster against other regions. The water management industry most directly affected by coastal investments is “Other Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction.” [note] This industry is remarkably concentrated in Southeast Louisiana, which indicates the importance of water management to our regional economy. [note]

Occupational Earnings
Why is this important?

Median hourly earnings are an important measure of job quality. Water management occupations tend to pay higher wages than the rest of the Southeast Louisiana economy. [note] This suggests that water management provides good opportunities relative to other sources of labor demand in the Super Region. In key water management industries, the occupational mix includes mid-wage, accessible occupations (e.g., construction trades) and higher-wage, specialized occupations (e.g., engineers).

Workforce Demographics
Why is this important?

National studies have found that the water infrastructure workforce tends to be older and to lack gender and racial diversity in certain occupations. [note] Data on workforce demographics reveal opportunities for recruiting from untapped labor pools to ensure replenishment of the labor force as workers retire. Over the long term, occupational inclusivity will help to cultivate and replenish the workforce for these critical industries.