Houston Economy at a Glance July 2019

From Houston Economy at a Glance (July 2019 Publication of the Greater Houston Partnership)

  • The U.S. Census Bureau posted population estimates for U.S. metros in April. Metro Houston has a population of nearly 7.0 million, a gain of just over 1.0 million since ’10. The Bureau released estimates for cities in May. The city of Houston has a population of 2.3 million, a net gain of 232,000 since ’10.
  • All nine counties in the Houston metro area gained population over the past eight years. Harris County added the most residents, followed by Fort Bend, Montgomery and Brazoria. Fort Bend grew the fastest, followed by Montgomery and Waller Counties. Among all U.S. counties, Fort Bend ranked as the nation’s 10th fastest growing from ’10 to ’18, Montgomery ranked 18th, Waller 41st, Chambers 52nd and Brazoria 83rd.
    Metro Houston created 79,800 jobs, a 2.6 percent increase, in the 12 months ending May ’19, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Employment now stands at 3,163,600, the highest point on record. At the current pace of growth, the region should top 3.2 million jobs by year’s end.
  • The recovery in the oil and gas industry began in earnest three years ago this summer. Crude prices began improving in March ’16, the rig count in May ’16, and bankruptcies plateaued in the second quarter of the year. But energy employment didn’t see an uptick until January ’17 and continues to struggle. From peak to trough, the sector cut nearly 93,000 jobs. While pipeline and liquid natural gas projects have helped engineering recoup all its losses, upstream and manufacturing have recovered only a fraction of theirs.
  • Foreign Trade
    Houston’s exports have grown from $80.0 billion in ’08 to $120.7 billion in ’18, according to the U.S. International Trade Administration.1 No other metro area has experienced such growth over the period.
  • Foreign Direct Investment
    The Partnership has tracked 659 deals where foreign-owned companies announced plans to establish or expand operations in Houston. The value of the investments was made public for only 315 of these deals, but the cumulative amount disclosed is significant—$33.2 billion. These investments originated from 36 countries and cover 63 industries across 11 broad sectors.