"The extra influx of money for construction and insurance, and all the other kinds of things you need for reconstruction, have definitely created a jump in the numbers," said Michael Buckley, a spokesman for Kagan. The central Gulf region is enjoying a 5-year cumulative average growth rate of 7.7 percent, as compared with a rate of only 3.8 percent in the "central South" region further east.
A large part of the central Gulf's increase is also due to sustained growth--unrelated to hurricane repairs--in the booming areas of east Texas, including Dallas, Houston, and Austin. And although these markets are more likely to show sustained gains, the rise in ad spending on the hurricane-impacted areas of the Gulf Coast is more likely a one-time event, according to Buckley.
"It's really an artificial jump," cautioned Buckley, who went on: "If you did the actual numbers from 2005 to 2010, New Orleans and the surrounding areas wouldn't even figure in the top markets." Buckley also noted that "this is just [a measure of] growth rate, not overall ad dollars"--a significant caveat in a market with some of the lowest ad spending in the country.