September 2023 Edition
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 September edition of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Economy at a Glance. Download the full report below.
GLIDING TO A SOFT LANDING
- The U.S. economy continues its glide path to a soft landing, not the crash-and-burn that so many expected this year.
- The nation added 187,000 jobs in August and an average of 236,000 per month this year. That’s a more sustainable rate than the monthly average of 399,000 jobs in ’22 and 606,000 in ’21. August’s growth is also more in line with that of ’19, when gains averaged 163,000 per month.
- The number of job openings has declined significantly. There were 8.8 million unfilled positions in July, down from a peak of 12.0 million in March ’22. “Quits,” also known as “voluntary separations,” or more colloquially “job hopping,” have fallen to the lowest level since February ’21. The drop in openings and quits should ease pressure on wages and inflation.
- Consumer spending, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of all economic activity, rose 0.6 percent in July adjusted for inflation. Households spent more on recreational goods, dining out, hotels, financial services, housing, and utilities. Consumer Spending has risen in 20 of the last 24 months.
NAME FOR HOUSTON
- In July, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) gave Houston a new name. The region is no longer the “Houston-The Woodlands- Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area.” We’re now the “Houston-Pasadena-The Woodlands Metropolitan Statistical Area.”
- The ten counties that now comprise the Houston MSA are Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto, and Waller. With the addition of San Jacinto, the metro area’s population is 7,368,466 as of July 1, 2023.
METRO EMPLOYMENT UPDATE
- Since Houston’s economy reopened in May ’20, the region has added 514,900 jobs, recovering 143.3 percent of the 359,300 lost early in the pandemic. July’s education losses should be recouped by September. Unless the region is in a recession, overall growth typically accelerates in October and November. If those patterns hold, local employment should top 3.4 million by the end of the year.
COST OF LIVING UPDATE
- The Q2/23 Cost of Living Index published by the Council for Community and Economic found that Houston’s living costs are 5.8 percent below the nationwide average and 28.8 percent below the average of the nation’s most populous metropolitan areas.
- The index is based on a quarterly price survey of groceries, health care, housing, utilities, transportation, and miscellaneous services in over 270 urban areas.
- The Baker Hughes count of active domestic rotary rigs slipped to 632 in the last full week of August, down from 765 the same week in ’22. The count peaked at 784 the week of November 23, 2022, and has trended down since. August saw the loss of 32 rigs, July 10 rigs, June 37 rigs, and May 44 rigs. The rig count now stands at the same place it was in early February ’22.
Source: Greater Houston Partnership