Houston Economy at a Glance

Houston Economy at a Glance

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.

  • The U.S. has made a remarkable recovery. Real GDP grew 33.4 percent in Q3/20 and 4.3 percent in Q4/20. When the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) releases GDP estimates for Q1/21 later this month, the bureau’s likely to report GDP has already returned to pre-pandemic levels.


  • All this bodes well for Houston, which needs a robust U.S. recovery to drive the local recovery. As of February ’21 (the most current data available), Houston had recouped only 128,400 of the 361,100 jobs lost in the pandemic. That’s 35.2 percent compared to 62.4 percent for the nation.


  • But rising headwinds may slow the U.S. recovery. A U.S. Census Bureau survey conducted in March found that 4.2 million adults are unemployed and have stopped looking for work because they fear contracting the virus. That may explain why companies are finding it difficult to fill open positions. In March, 42 percent of small business owners reported they had job openings they could not fill, according to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses.


  • Houston’s digital tech workforce grew last year, nudging the metro up to 11th place, ahead of Philadelphia but behind Atlanta in the rankings of the nation’s major tech centers. That’s according to Cyberstates 2021, the Computing Technology Industry Association’s (CompTIA) annual assessment of the U.S. tech sector.


  • According to Cyberstates, Houston’s tech sector contributed $29.2 billion to the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) in ’19, 5.6 percent of the total. That’s up from $28.4 billion in ’18. By comparison, tech contributed $37.9 billion to Austin’s economy, 25.3 percent of its GDP, while Dallas’s tech sector contributed $66.7 billion, 13.1 percent of GDP.


  • The report underscores just how much tech talent is embedded in non-tech industries in Houston. Most of Houston’s 155,400 tech occupations (engineers, coders, analysts) work outside the tech sector. Among large metros, Houston has the highest share of technical occupations embedded in non-tech sector companies.


  • Data in the Cyberstates report makes obvious the differences in the tech sectors of Texas top three metros. Dallas’s tech industry is weighted toward IT services, telecommunications and internet services, no surprise considering Dallas is home to AT&T. Austin’s tech industry has a strong presence in Tech Manufacturing, a nod to its chip manufacturing sector and computer makers like Dell and Apple. Houston’s tech sector is weighted toward research and development, testing and engineering services. Houston has more tech workers in R&D and engineering (68,782) than Austin and Dallas combined.


Click here to download the latest issue of the Economy at a Glance

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