The Greater Houston Partnership is an economic development organization in Houston, Texas. The Partnership is a gathering place for community minded business leaders who want to be involved in the positive growth and influence Houston’s economic trajectory. Below are some highlights from the March edition of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Economy at a Glance. Download the full report below.
- Most Partnership members will have fully reopened their offices by the end of June, if they have not done so already. The process varies though, with as many firms requiring employees in the office five days a week as require two days or less. The hybrid environment has forced many to rethink their real estate needs as well, with over 20 percent planning to eventually reduce their footprint.
- Those are the major conclusions from a survey the Partnership conducted of its members in early June. Responses came from 140 companies in 15 industries. Roughly one-third of respondents had 500 or more employees, one-third 51 to 500 employees, and one third 50 or fewer employees. The Partnership conducted the survey to help local employees see how others are handling the tough issues surrounding reopening.
Timing of Reopening
- When asked about reopening, half (50 percent) of survey respondents either never closed or have already resumed full operations; another 16 percent are opening in June. By September, 90 percent expect to have fully reopened.
Recovery Passes Halfway Mark
- Metro Houston created 18,700 jobs in April, the third best April on record. March’s gains were 35,200 jobs, the best March on record. February added 17,200 jobs. The strong start to the year has nudged Houston past the halfway point in the recovery.
Houston Drawing Tech Workers
- Houston was the second most popular destination, behind Miami, for migrating tech workers during the pandemic, according a recent AXIOS analysis of LinkedIn user data.
$70 Oil and No One’s Cheering
- West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for light, sweet crude, has traded near $70 per barrel since early June, a level not seen since October ’18.
- In the past, such strong demand and such a jump in oil prices would drive a surge in U.S. exploration activity, but not this time.
- Several factors account for the tepid drilling recovery. The companies are using the additional revenues to pay down debt and pay dividends to their investors. Investors, displeased with the poor returns over past 10 years, have stopped lending to the industry. And energy companies, under pressure from shareholders, policy makers, and the public to reduce their carbon footprints, are shifting some investment to alternative energy sources.
- Houston is unlikely to experience a surge in energy industry hiring. In mid-April, upstream energy (exploration, oil field services, equipment manufacturing, the production of pipes, valves and flanges, and engineering, employed 196,000 in Houston. That’s 38,300 fewer than in March of last year and 103,000 fewer than December ’14, the peak of the fracking boom.