A new look at Census information shows a substantial link between the New Orleans and Baton Rouge metro areas. Researchers are seeing a potential “super region” including the Houma-Thibodaux area emerging as a strong economic force.
The Community Data Center says the New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Houma regions are showing increased economic connections. It’s coming through business in maritime, oil and gas and chemical companies, and a shared workforce. In 2010, about 26,000 workers commuted from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, while 22,000 went in the opposite direction. Another 11,000 workers commuted from Houma to metro New Orleans, while about 8,000 had the reverse commute. Data center spokeswoman Allison Plyer says Census Bureau information can pinpoint a workforce.
“For a single block we can see how many people work in that block and where those individuals who work in that block live across the metro area. Where similarly we can look at a single block – a residential block – and see how many people live in that residential block and where they go to work.”
Plyer says other regions in the United States are joining forces and southern Louisiana could become a major player in attracting business.
“We are considered part of the Gulf Coast energy mega-region, which extends from Houston all the way into the panhandle of Florida. So there are always opportunities also to collaborate that far along to look at, whether it’s federal policies, but in particular, looking within your state at your other metros and how you collaborate is really useful because state policy is such an important driver of economic development.”
Plyer says the report shows more extensive study is needed to create a super-metro region to compete in international markets.