Hottest Jobs in South Louisiana? Saving the Coast

Looking for the industry with the fastest growth and some of the best-paying jobs in coastal Louisiana?

Saving Louisiana’s vanishing coastline is now the fastest growing industry along Louisiana’s coast, driving economic expansion and eclipsing the oil and gas sector in creating new jobs. Coastal restoration and protection is not only the biggest jobs creator in coastal Louisiana – it has some of the highest-paying jobs, averaging $69,277 per year.

This hot job market is expected to get even hotter as hundreds of millions of dollars from the Gulf oil disaster – funds solely dedicated to restoring and preserving the coast – flow into the state over the next 16 years. These findings and more can be found in a new economic analysis by the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, based on methodology by The Data Center.

By the numbers:

Southeast Louisiana: Jobs in water management – which includes coastal restoration, coastal protection and urban water management – have exploded in recent years, totaling more than 32,000 jobs in southeast Louisiana alone. By comparison, oil and gas provides 26,000 jobs to the region.

Major industries SE region

As Louisiana emerged from the depths of the recession in 2010, the growth in the water management industry demonstrates that this sector will be a critical driver of prosperity for the state’s future. Coastal restoration has created more than 5,700 new jobs in the region since 2010 and is expected to continue to grow.

Job Growth SE region

Southwest Louisiana: Though oil and gas remains the largest economic driver in southwest Louisiana, coastal restoration has seen a significantly higher net gain of jobs since 2010 and is now the second largest economic driver in the region.

Major industries SW region

The coastal restoration and protection industry has remained stable in southwest Louisiana at 12,000 jobs since 2014, while oil and gas suffered a net loss of approximately 3,000 jobs between 2014 and 2015. Jobs in water management have experienced a net gain of 3,784 jobs since 2010 in southwest Louisiana.

Job growth SW region

What’s driving this hot job market?

 This industry is growing because of an urgency to restore and protect the wetlands that are Louisiana’s first line of defense against rising seas and storms, combined with the hundreds of millions of dollars from the BP oil spill settlement and pollution penalties – money dedicated to coastal restoration – as well as Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) funds and other sources coming to the state.

Coastal restoration not only helps to protect the people, industries and wildlife that call Louisiana’s coast home, it also fuels economic growth faster than any other single business sector in the region. The industry also provides good-paying jobs for Louisianians, averaging $69,277 per year. Investment in water management is a major win-win for the people, environment and economy of south Louisiana.

About this report

The analysis was conducted by the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, which includes Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. It was produced using The Data Center’s methodology.

Our press release and full report can be found online.

Learn why coastal restoration is urgently needed to protect and grow businesses in Louisiana and across the Gulf. Visit