Lake Houston business leaders were told Houston’s economy is in its ‘best shape since 2014’
Lake Houston area business and community leaders were better informed about Houston’s humming economy by officials from the Greater Houston Partnership.
Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research for the GHP, spoke at the annual Economic Outlook Luncheon hosted by the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 19 at the Kingwood Country Club about how the national economy is doing and how it trickles down to the local economy here in Houston.
“There’s not a lot of financial stress out there in the market,” Jankowski said. “The rest of the economy is doing fairly well.”
After Jankowski gave a brief explanation about the national economy, he focused more on the Houston area. The senior economist says the national economy is doing well and will continue to do well.
“We are not on the precipice of a recession. The economy is actually in much better shape than what you read in headlines,” Jankowski said.
“Houston’s economy is actually in its best shape that it’s been in since 2014,” he added said.
Jankowski said that Hurricane Harvey did have a tangible impact on the local economy, however, the effect wore off within three months.
He pointed out that oil and gas and even retail jobs have slowly been picking up and so have home sales. In 2018, there were about 100,000 homes sold in the Houston area, according to Jankowski.
“The energy business is profitable again — it’s finally making a profit again,” Jankowski said. … “Oil and gas companies are making a profit now. … The other thing you need to notice is that back in 2012 this region became a net export. We export more to the rest of the world than we import.”
Houston’s economic growth also benefitted from international immigration, Jankowski said.
In 2017, he said more people moved out of Houston domestically than in because of how weak the economy was. However, Jankowski said more than 43,000 people moved to Houston from overseas in 2017 and that helped stabilize Houston’s economy.
“If it wasn’t for the international migration, we would have had negative migration last year,” Jankowski said. “If you look at Houston going back in the last 25 years we’ve never had a year with negative international migration, we’ve had four years of negative domestic migration.”
Jankowski said that Houston will experience growth in every sector of its economy and there will be a long term average of 65,000 jobs this year.
Kevin Brady touts economy
Texas District 8 Congressman Kevin Brady also spoke at the Economic Outlook Luncheon and said the national blue collar employment has surged.
“The average median household income has surpassed $62,000 for the first time ever,” Brady said.
Brady added that new business startups has increased and U.S. manufacturing companies had their best year in decades. Small businesses can now invest with confidence again, he said.
“We need more customers, and we need more workers. We need more customers in free trade and we need more work force for the long term and in the short term as well,” Brady said.
The District 8 Congressman said no one ships or sails more around the world than Texas.
“We are made for trade and we are good at it,” Brady said.
Brady said one major issue the U.S. is currently facing is a shortage of workers.
“It is our lack of workers at every level, small business to large, agriculture to technology, it doesn’t matter; every corner of this country businesses are starved for workers,” Brady said. “We are leaving economic growth on the table, and it will only get worse.”
While Brady acknowledges how several entities in the Lake Houston area such as Humble ISD, Lone Star College and other major businesses play a major role in the area’s economic success, he urges business leaders to scale up the area’s workforce.
“My recommendation to you as business leaders and community leaders is everyday you and I need to wake up asking, ‘what are we doing right now to create more for my business, my community, our industry’ because that will determine the economic growth of our country, not just for you but your kids as well,” Brady said.