Houston Economy at a Glance

Houston Economy at a Glance

The Greater Houston Partnership is an economic development organization in Houston, Texas. They serve as a 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 November edition of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Economy at a Glance. Download the full report below.

Download the latest issue of the Economy at a Glance

NO CAUSE FOR ALARM

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that inflation, as measured by changes in the Consumer Price Index, rose 5.3 percent in the 12 months ending August ’21. The rate has averaged 5.0 percent or better since May of this year.
  • The report fueled speculation as to when the U.S. Federal Reserve (the Fed) will raise interest rates to keep inflation in check. The bank now treads a fine line. Raise rates too soon and the Fed stifles the recovery, raise them too late and inflation becomes more difficult to reign in, raise rates too high and the nation falls back into recession.

THE IMPACT ON HOUSTON

  • The report fueled speculation as to when the U.S. Federal Reserve (the Fed) will raise interest rates to keep inflation in check. The bank now treads a fine line. Raise rates too soon and the Fed stifles the recovery, raise them too late and inflation becomes more difficult to reign in, raise rates too high and the nation falls back into recession.

EMPLOYMENT UPDATE

  • Metro Houston added 4,800 jobs in July, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). That was somewhat weaker than expected. In a healthy economy, Houston would add 6,000 to 10,000 jobs in August. The shortfall this year is due to the surge in the Delta variant and its impact on the leisure and hospitality sector (arts, entertainment, hotels restaurants and bars) which shed 4,900 jobs in August.
  • On the bright side, three sectors that have struggled since prior to the pandemic added jobs in August—energy (1,400 jobs), construction (2,100) and manufacturing (1,500). As a group, they remain 64,800 jobs below February ’20 employment levels.
  • Two other bright spots, professional and business services added 5,500 jobs, another sign Houston’s services sector continues to recover. Educational services added 3,000 jobs as students and teachers at private schools returned to campus.
  • Through the first eight months of this year, the region has created 56,600 jobs. In a robust economy, Houston might create 50,000 to 60,000 jobs September through October. In a weak economy, 20,000 to 40,000. Given the impact the Delta variant is having, Houston is likely to finish the year in the lower range, with a net gain of 75,000 to 100,000 jobs in ’21. That’s above the long-term range of 60,000 to 70,000, but it would still leave the region at least 100,000 jobs below pre-pandemic employment levels.

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