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 December 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


  • To date, metro Houston has recouped 245,600 of the 361,400 jobs lost in the early stages of the pandemic. Most of the sectors impacted by Stay Home, Work Safe practices have fully recovered or soon will recover. These include ambulatory healthcare, computer systems design, employment services, general merchandise stores, insurance, legal services, refining, services to buildings, transportation/warehousing.


  • Houston’s unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent in September, the lowest level since March ’20. The rate remains above that for Texas (4.9 percent) and the U.S. (4.6 percent). The rates are not seasonally adjusted.


  • As this newsletter arrives in subscribers’ inboxes, the Partnership is putting the finishing touches on its ’22 employment outlook. In developing the forecast, three themes rose to the top:
    • Of all the jobs lost in the pandemic, the easiest ones to recover have already been recouped.
    • Construction, energy, manufacturing, and wholesale trade, as noted earlier, are holding back the recovery.
    • How well local businesses manage supply chain disruptions and worker shortages will determine the path of Houston’s recovery in ’22.


  • Q3/21 marked the first quarter since Q4/19 that Houston’s office market logged positive absorption. The amount was small, less than 600,000 square feet, a tiny step but one in the right direction.
  • Currently, just under 30 percent of all office space in Houston is either vacant or available for lease. To cut that in half and return to 15 percent, a rate typical for a healthy market, the Houston needs to absorb another 35.0 million square feet (MSF) of space. Over 71 MSF of the 243 million in the market is available for lease.


  • Houston continues to lead the nation in exports, shipping more goods and commodities ($63.4 billion) abroad in the first six months of ’21 than New York ($51.6 billion), Los Angeles ($29.1 billion) or Chicago ($26.1 billion), according to data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Texas leads the nation in exports, with shipments through June ’21 valued at $142.5 billion. Houston accounted for 44.5 percent of the state’s exports, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth with 14.5 percent and El Paso with 10.9 percent.

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