Brookings Report Finds New Orleans Lagging In Foreign Investment

Jun 20, 2014

A new report finds New Orleans lagging behind in attracting foreign investment. It says the region is losing jobs and the wider financial benefits that come along with international money.

The Brookings Institution based in Washington, DC, reviewed foreign investments in the US in 100 cities over the past 20 years, ending in 2011.

It finds that while the US remains the top destination for foreign investments, the share is getting smaller. Emerging nations are winning more projects.

In New Orleans, the numbers show fewer jobs that experts say are especially vital to a strong economy.

Lead author Devashree Saha said, “There’s nothing foreign about a foreign direct investment strategy.” 

Saha says the research shows jobs from foreign-owned companies bring in higher-than-average salaries, updated research and development — and a gateway to international markets.

New Orleans had about 17,400 jobs in foreign-owned companies in 1991. By 2011, that number fell to 11,650.

Rodrick Miller is president of the New Orleans Business Alliance. He says the report covers a time of national recession, and foreign investment has been increasing in New Orleans since then.

“We’ll see a spike in investment," Miller said. "I mean, Chiquita just made a significant move by bringing all of their bananas through New Orleans again and that was only a couple of months ago, so we’ll continue to see those sorts of trends.”  

Miller says more foreign investment is expected in the developing biomedical district serving two new hospitals, port infrastructure improvements and additional international flights to New Orleans.