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The Glass Half Full

Patrick Jankowski

Patrick Jankowski

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THURSDAY JULY 31, 2014

10 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT HOUSTON


  1. If the Houston metro area were an independent nation, it would rank as the world’s 27th largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund – behind Argentina ($488.2 billion), but ahead of Austria ($415.4 billion) and the United Arab Emirates ($396.2 billion).
  2. Average weekly wage in Harris County in the fourth quarter of 2013 was $1,316 – 31.6 percent above the U.S. average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Self-employed persons were not included in the data).
  3. Houston, a major corporate center, ranks 3rd among U.S. metro areas in the number of corporate headquarters contained on the 2014 Fortune 500 list. Twenty-six Fortune 500 companies call Houston home.
  4. Houston has more than 89,620 engineers, architects, drafters and technicians of all disciplines, the most numerous being: civil, industrial, petroleum, mechanical, electrical/electronic and aerospace.
  5. The Houston MSA employs over 290,000 employees in the health care industry.
  6. The Houston MSA contains 62 school districts and 50 state-approved charter schools that reported 2013 enrollment of 1,252,660 students.
  7. In 2013, the Port of Houston ranked 1st in foreign tonnage among U.S. ports for 18 consecutive years, 1st in import tonnage for 23 consecutive years, and 2nd in total tonnage for 22 consecutive years.
  8. The Houston MSA in 2013, according to PKF Consulting, had 804 major hotels and motels, totaling 74,840 rooms. Another 1,069 rooms were under construction in 2013, slated for completion in 2014.
  9. More than 500 institutions are devoted to the performing and visual arts, science and history in the Houston area.
  10. In 1905,Houston had 80 automobiles.

Those details come from Houston Facts, a 54-page compendium of data gathered by the Partnership's research team. As explained in the introduction to Houston Facts:

"The title says much about this publication. No spin. No frills. No hyperbole. Just page after page of straightforward information from more than 300 sources to answer questions most frequently asked about the Houston region."

The Partnership and its predecessor organization have published Houston Facts continuously since 1959. There's even an old version in the files by a different name dating to 1906. The format may have changed over the years, but the purpose of the document hasn't—present unvarnished information about Houston. Check it out. The publication can be accessed here. Hard copies can be purchased by calling 713-844-9366.






MONDAY JULY 21, 2014

Outlook for U.S. Improving


This week, I want to cover the results of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) most-recent quarterly Business Conditions Survey. I sit on the committee which tabulates the results; I’m also president of NABE's Houston Chapter.

NABE asks a select group of economists across the U.S. representing a broad spectrum of industries for their insights into current and future economic trends. A few highlights:

  • NABE economists expect strong growth in the future. Three-fourths of survey respondents expect the economy to grow at 2.0 percent or better, one-fourth expects growth to exceed 3.0 percent. This is a significant improvement over the 2.9 percent drop in real gross domestic product recorded in Q1/14.
  • Sixty-two percent indicated recent global events have had no impact on hiring or investment decisions while 31 percent indicated the impact was minor. The survey was conducted the last week of June, so this question bears watching in future surveys to see if recent escalation in the Middle East and the tensions between Ukraine and Russia impact the business outlook.
  • Thirty-six percent of respondents reported their firms increased hiring in the second quarter. Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data backs this up. In April, May and June, the U.S. added 816,000 non-farm payroll jobs. Over the past 12 months, the nation has added 2.5 million jobs, up from 2.3 million in the same period in ’13.
  • While labor shortages remain a concern, only 22 percent of survey respondents reported difficulty in finding skilled labor, down from 33 percent in the July ’13 survey.

Bottom line: The U.S. economy continues to grow and the near-term outlook remains strong. To find out more about the survey, click here.

If you are a member of the media and have additional questions, feel free to contact me at pjankowski@houston.org.





TUESDAY JUNE 24, 2014

Ten Facts Everyone Should Know About Houston’s Economy


Houston, with 6.3 million residents, is the fifth most populous metro in the nation.

Houston has climbed in the rankings over the past two decades. The metro population ranked tenth in 1990, eighth in 2000, sixth in 2010, and fifth today.

Nonfarm payroll employment is at the highest point in Houston’s history.

The job count exceeds 2.8 million and will surpass 2.9 million later this year. Since the bottom of the recession, the region has added 407,300 jobs, more than two for every one lost in the recession.

Houston’s unemployment rate stood at 5.0 percent in May 2014.

The U.S. rate stands at 5.9 percent. The rates are not seasonally adjusted.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates Houston’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) topped $449.4 billion in 2012.

GDP grew $92.9 billion from 2009 to 2012. Houston had the fourth largest U.S. metro GDP in 2012.

Twenty-six Fortune 500 companies call Houston home.

Houston ranks third in Fortune 500 headquarters, behind New York (72) and Chicago (33), and ahead of Los Angeles (21), Washington D.C. (20), and Dallas/Fort Worth (19). Houston’s 26 firms reported combined revenues of $599.7 billion in 2013.

No racial or ethnic group represents a majority of the population.

Anglos comprise 38.8 percent of total population; Hispanics comprise 35.9 percent; Blacks 16.7 percent; Asians 6.7 percent; other and mixed races 1.9 percent.

Nearly 1.4 million Houston residents, 22.3 percent of the local population, were foreign-born.

Central and South America provides the bulk of the immigrant population, (910,000 residents), followed by Asia (330,000), Africa (61,000), Europe (60,000), Canada (15,000) and Oceania (3,000).

Since the April 2010 Census, Houston has added 390,000 residents.

Approximately 200,000 arrived via the moving van and 190,000 via the maternity ward.

More than 1.1 million Houstonians, 29.6 percent of the adult population, have college degrees.

This includes approximately 750,000 with Bachelor’s and 400,000 with Graduate degrees.

The Houston-Galveston Customs District handles more than $250 billion in foreign trade in a typical year.

In 2013, $128.9 billion in exports and $122.9 billion in imports passed through the region. Leading commodities—agricultural products, chemicals, crude, electrical machinery, industrial machinery, plastics, refined products and steel.




MONDAY MAY 19, 2014

Houston Won’t Overtake Chicago Anytime Soon


Next time a realtor, banker or waiter tells you that Houston will soon overtake Chicago in population, ask them to read this blog entry. While Houston is growing incredibly fast and Chicago is growing incredibly slow, there’s a huge gap between the two that will take decades to close. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro population at 9.5 million and the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro population at 6.3 million1. To close the gap, Houston would need to add 3.2 million more residents, a 51.1 percent population increase.

How long will it take to close the gap? Several views of the data:

From 1980 to 2013, the Houston region added 3.1 million residents. That’s equal to 33 years of historic growth for Houston. This suggests Houston is three and a half decades away from reaching where Chicago is today, and as Houston grows, so does Chicago, albeit, at a slower pace.

Two well-respected firms, IHS Global Insight and Woods & Poole Economics, produce population forecasts for the nation.

  • Woods & Poole expects Houston’s population to reach 10.17 million and Chicago’s to reach 11.54 million by 2040.
  • IHS Global expects Houston’s population to exceed 10.18 million and Chicago’s to exceed 11.06 million by 2042.

If one extrapolates from IHS Global Insight and Woods & Poole, Houston won’t overtake Chicago until mid-century.

Population Forecasts - Houston - Chicago

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning forecasts the Chicago region’s population to top 11.04 million in 2040. The Houston-Galveston Area Council forecasts the population of the eight metropolitan counties in its service area will top 9.5 million in 20402.

The Texas State Data Center’s moderate growth scenario (which it recommends for long-range planning) calls for Houston’s population to top 9.1 million in 20403. The Perryman Group forecasts Houston’s population to be 10.25 million in 2040. Both fall shy of the 11-million-plus population expected for Chicago in various forecasts.

The gap the city of Houston has to bridge to overtake the city of Chicago is not as wide but still formidable. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the city of Houston’s population at 2.16 million and the city of Chicago’s at 2.71 million, a gap of about 550,0004. Since 2010, Houston’s population has grown by 31,000 residents per year, the city of Chicago’s by 10,000. At that rate, Houston may overtake Chicago in about 26 years.

So while the Houston-Chicago population gap will narrow over time, it will remain quite large for the next few decades. The earliest the city of Houston might overtake the city of Chicago would be 2040. The earliest the Houston metro area would overtake Chicago would be mid-century. That’s assuming present growth patterns hold for the next 25-plus years. A lot can happen in a quarter century. Stay tuned.

1As of July 1, 2013.
2HGAC omits Austin County, which currently has fewer than 30,000 residents, from its forecast.
3The Texas State Data Center does have a growth scenario for Houston that shows the region’s population at 11.6 million in 2040, but this assumes the pace of in-migration to Houston over the next 50 years replicates that of 2000-2010.
4Population is as of July 1, 2012. City population estimates for July 1, 2013 will be released on Thursday, May 22.




WEDNESDAY MARCH 26, 2014

Houston’s Population Tops 6.3 Million


The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) added more residents last year than any other U.S. metro area. That’s according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s recently released estimates. The New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area ranked second in population growth while the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro ranked third. Houston’s metro population grew by 137,692 last year, a 2.2 percent increase, and stood at 6,313,158 on July 1, 2013, the date of the bureau’s estimate1.

Nationally, two Houston area counties stand out. Harris County had the largest numeric population increase, adding 82,890 residents. Harris remains the nation’s third most populous county (4,336,853 residents), behind Los Angeles County, CA (10,017,068 residents) and Cook County, IL (5,240,700 residents). Fort Bend had the fastest growth rate (4.2 percent) among counties with 250,000 or more people. Every Houston MSA county experienced population growth last year.

Net in-migration (the difference between those moving into Houston minus those moving out) accounted for 59 percent of the region’s population increase. The net natural increase (local births minus deaths) accounted for 41 percent of the growth.

Another way to look at population growth in Houston last year:

  • A baby was born every 5.7 minutes.
  • A death was recorded every 14.6 minutes.
  • Someone moved to the region from overseas every 20.6 minutes.
  • Someone moved to Houston from elsewhere in the U.S. every 9.5 minutes.

All told, Houston’s population grew by one new resident every 3.8 minutes last year. If the region grows at the same pace in 2014, Houston’s population will exceed 6.4 million by this time next year.




TUESDAY FEBRUARY 18, 2014

Another Chart That Says a Lot about Houston


Among the nation’s 10 most populous metro areas, Houston recorded the fastest rate of job growth in ’13, with nonfarm payroll employment growing 3.0 percent from December ’12 to December ’13.

Among the nation’s top 20 metros, Houston tied with Tampa in rate of job growth. Key differences between the two metros:

  • Houston, with 2.8 million jobs, has more than twice the number of Tampa’s 1.2 million jobs.
  • For Houston, a 3.0 percent growth rate translates into 82,000 new jobs in ’13; for Tampa, a 3.0 percent growth rate translates to 35,400 jobs.

Growth rates for the top 20 metros are below.

Percentage change in Houston employment




MONDAY FEBRUARY 10, 2014

Let me count the ways


Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day is Friday. To get readers in the spirit, this blog entry looks at the data behind the celebration.

Valentines Day401 — Number of jewelry stores in Houston. This doesn’t include the jewelry departments in Houston’s 736 general merchandise stores (e.g., Macy’s, Dillard’s, J.C. Penney and Target).

Valentines Day173 — Number of florists in Houston. This doesn’t include the floral departments in Houston’s 956 super markets or the vendors that seem to erect tents at every busy intersection this time of year.

$19.1 million — Value of flowers imported through Bush Intercontinental Airport in February last year. Nationwide, flower imports totaled $113.9 million in February ’13.

Valentines Day3,631 — Number of full-service restaurants in Houston. If you like ethnic or regional food, there are more than 70 varieties in Houston. If you like a cheap date, there are 4,941 fast food and take-out restaurants in the region.

Valentines Day26.6 years — Median age nationwide for the first marriage for women in ’13. Men tend to drag their heels. The median age of first marriage for men in ’13 was 29.0 years.

49.9 — Percentage of people 15 and older in Houston who reported being married in ’12. The percentage of people 15 and older in ’12 who had been married at some point in their lives, either currently or formerly (e.g., separated, widowed, divorced), was 67.2.

Valentines Day393 — The number of dating service establishments nationwide, including internet sites, as of ’07. Or you can try the old-fashioned way—there are more than 600 traditional bars in Houston.

Sources: 2012 County Business Patterns, WISERTrade Data, 2012 American Community Survey, 2007 Economic Census, Houston Facts 2013




MONDAY FEBRUARY 3, 2014

A Chart That Says A Lot About Houston


Houston was the first among the nation’s major metro areas to recover all the jobs it lost in the recession. The region lost 153,100 jobs between December ’08 and January ’10. Growth resumed in February’10 and the region has since created 362,000 jobs, or 2.4 jobs for every one job lost.

Houston’s recovery looks a bit different, but not much, if one looks at seasonally adjusted data. The region lost 117,400 jobs between August ’08 and December ’09. Job growth resumed January ’10 and the region has since created 315,000 jobs, or 2.7 jobs for each one lost.

The only metro that comes close to Houston is Dallas-Ft. Worth, and the metroplex still falls far short of our performance. The percent of jobs recouped (on a seasonal basis) in each of the nation’s 20 most populous metro areas can be seen in the chart below.

Jobs Recovered

The fact that more than four years into the recovery only eight of the nation’s 20 most populous metro areas have returned to their pre-recession employment levels underscores how weak the overall U.S. recovery has been—and how well Houston has performed.




MONDAY DECEMBER 16, 2013

Santa by the Numbers


Requests for information flood the Partnership's Research Department throughout the year. Typically the requests are for demographic profiles, economic forecasts, CEO biographies, maps, lists, charts, etc. But in recent weeks the department has been inundated with requests for information about our much-anticipated visitor from the North Pole. Unfortunately, the department's limited resources don't allow us to answer the requests individually, so the research team has consolidated the requests into seven basic questions. Those questions and their answers follow.

Where in the night sky should I look if I want to see Santa as he makes his rounds in Houston?

There is a common misconception that Kris Kringle crosses the U.S.-Canadian border in upper Michigan. Santa runs the most reliable small-package delivery system in the world. Logistics dictate he begins his route on the East Coast, so he crosses the U.S.-Canadian border near the tip of Maine. Here's why.

Santa's Travel Route Any traveler who's taken a long-distance flight has experienced the magic of time zones. Their plane departs at noon, flies for four hours, and upon landing it's only one o'clock. Santa puts this magic to good use on Christmas Eve. He enters U.S. airspace near Madawaska, Maine, and while in the Eastern Time Zone zigzags along the Atlantic seaboard. At midnight, when he slides down his first chimney in Portland, ME it's only 9 p.m. in Sacramento, CA. This phenomenon helps the jolly old elf to make all his deliveries in one night. FYI—the commercial delivery services DHL and UPS have also caught on. The former has a hub in Cincinnati, the latter in Louisville, both in the Eastern Time Zone.

That Santa begins his run on the East Coast also explains why he enters Texas via Louisiana, not from Oklahoma as many believe. At the end of his East Coast run, somewhere near Tallahassee, FL, Santa crosses into the Central Time Zone. He works his way across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and begins his Texas deliveries in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area before flying on to Houston. The first homes he visits in the 11-county Houston metro area are near Wallisville and Maxey Roads. So to answer the question, Houstonians have a better chance of seeing Santa and his sleigh in the night sky if they look east, rather than north, around midnight.

How many children in Houston will receive presents from Santa?

U.S. Security and ExchangeNot being subject to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, Santa remains secretive about his operations. However, using U.S. Census Bureau data and a little deductive reasoning the Partnership has calculated how many children in Houston will receive a visit from Santa on Christmas Eve.

According to the Bureau's American Community Survey, there are 1,695,905 children under the age of 18 in Houston. GHP estimates that 96 percent of the children are on the "nice" list and four percent are on the "naughty" list. These percentages are based on the assumption that in a typical class of 25 students there will be one bully. (25 students times four equals 100; 100 minus four bullies equals 96). Applying 96 percent to the Houstonians under the age of 18 gives us the answer: 1,628,068 children in Houston will receive presents from Santa this year.

How many presents will Santa deliver?

Gifts Per ChildThis calculation is actually quite simple. A child who has been exceptional all year typically receives as many as five presents; a child who has been merely good, three presents; a child who has simply not been naughty, one present. Assuming each child receives an average of three presents, Santa will deliver 4,884,206 presents in Houston this year.

Delivering all those packages seems like a logistical nightmare. How is Santa able to make sure the right presents go to each child?

GiftsSanta's elves have their own proprietary system for labeling and sorting that companies like FedEx, UPS and DHL, as good as they are, have not been able to replicate. Furthermore, the workshop has a zero tolerance policy for error. This ensures a 100-percent-accurate delivery rate. Not once in the history of Kringle Enterprises has there been a mistake. Think about it. Have you ever heard of any family waking on Christmas morning to find presents for "Bobby" or "Suzie" under the tree yet there being no one by those names in the house?

How does Santa get all those packages in his sleigh?

The elves sort and stack the packages in much the same way freight companies stack boxes on cargo vessels. Where do you think Maersk, Nedloyd, and Hanjin got the idea for container ships?

How much candy will Santa place in Houston-area stockings?

Christmas Stocking Let's assume the treats that Santa places in the stockings at the Jankowski household are typical of what he delivers to all Houston homes—a large Hershey bar, a bag of Twizzlers, a reasonable size bag of Hershey Kisses, a dozen generic candy canes, Christmas Stocking Contentsa bag of gummy bears, a box of Christmas Skittles, a chocolate snowman, one pack of gum (sugarless), and a package of beef jerky. Total weight: 2 pounds 8 ounces. Multiply that times the number of children on the "nice" list in Houston and Santa will deliver 2,312 metric tons of sweets to Houston homes on Christmas Eve. Measured in caloric value it’s even more impressive—5,415 calories per stocking or 8.8 billion total calories. Note: Gym memberships are popular gifts for children as well as adults.

Final question: It's customary for children to leave milk and cookies for Santa. How much does he consume in a night?

First not everyone is considerate enough to leave something so the old elf can keep his strength up while making his rounds. And some families have been known to leave wine and cheese or beer and a cigar, which Santa does not touch. But assuming 90 percent of all households leave milk and cookies, and the traditional snack is an eight-ounce glass plus three gingerbread men, Santa consumes 41,896 gallons of milk and 2,011,003 cookies. He has a high metabolic rate so he burns off nearly all the calories before he returns to the North Pole.

A final greeting

Champaign Toast Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone from the GHP research team — Jenny, Deborah, Roel, Josh, Edith, Deanna and Patrick.





WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 11, 2013

2014 Employment Forecast


On December 3, the Greater Houston Partnership issued its 2014 employment forecast at a half-day event held at the Hilton Americas. The highlights of the forecast:

  • The Partnership forecasts the 11-county Houston region to create 69,800 net new jobs in 2014, down from the 78,000 jobs anticipated for 2013 and the 105,700 jobs created in 2012.
  • Employment will grow 2.5 percent year-over-year, down from the 2.8 percent expected in 2013 and the 4.0 percent recorded in 2012.
  • The Partnership expects to see job growth in every sector, with professional and business services, education and health services, and trade, transportation and utilities experiencing the greatest gains.
  • Though job growth will slow in 2014, it will remain above the long-term average of 2.2 percent annual growth and 42,600 jobs per year.
  • Job growth in Houston will still outpace all but a few metro areas and the nation as a whole.
  • Houston is entering a more sustainable period of job growth. Over the next few years, an increase of 65,000 to 70,000 jobs per year should be the norm.




WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 13, 2013

Speed


Light travels at the rate of 186,282 miles per second.

The American Thoroughbred “Secretariat” holds the record for the fastest time at the Kentucky Derby, winning the 1973 race with a time of 1:592/5 minutes.

British Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green traveled 763.035 miles per hour on October 15, 1997 (faster than the speed of sound) and set a new land speed record.

How fast is Houston growing?

Through the first ten months of 2013 . . .

  • The region’s auto dealers have sold 296,429 cars, trucks and SUVs.
  • That equates to one vehicle sold every 89 seconds.
  • Local real estate agents have sold 68,078 homes.
  • That equates to one home sale every six minutes.

Through the first nine months of 2013 . . .

  • The Houston Airport System has handled more than 38.1 million passengers.
  • That equates to 97 passengers every minute.
  • The City of Houston has issued $4.4 billion in construction permits.
  • That equates to $11,193 in construction permits every minute.

Through the first eight months of 2013 . . .

  • The Houston-Galveston Customs District has handled more than $165.8 billion in foreign trade.
  • That equates to $473,783 in exports and imports passing through the region every minute.
  • Permits have been issued for the construction of 24,407 single-family homes in metro Houston.
  • That equates to one home every 14 minutes.
  • The 11-county region has created 57,400 new jobs.
  • That equates to one job every six minutes.

It’s too soon to determine whether 2013 will set any records, but at the current pace of growth the year should finish up as one of the best ever.


What will 2014 Look Like?

Jobs Outlook 2014 GHP is hosting its annual Economic Outlook Event Tuesday, December 3, at the Hilton Americas. This year’s event features a panel of business leaders discussing Houston economic trends. The panelists include:

  • Robert C. Robbins, M.D., President and CEO, Texas Medical Center
  • Darryl Wilson, Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, GE - Power & Water, GE
  • Mark A. Cover, Senior Managing Director and CEO, Southwest Region, Hines

Shern-Min Chow, Anchor for KHOU-TV, will moderate the panel discussion.

John E. Silvia, Chief Economist, Wells Fargo, will be the luncheon keynote speaker. He will provide the U.S. economic outlook. Patrick Jankowski, GHP Vice President of Research, will present the 2014 Houston employment forecast.

Jobs Outlook 2014

Full-day tickets include the panel discussion, GHP’s forecast, luncheon, keynote speech, and a copy of Houston Economic Highlights, A 60-page compendium of insights into changes that have occurred in Houston’s economy over the past decade.

For more information on the event, please click here.




WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 30, 2013

Houston Doing More Than Its Share


Texas has received many accolades in recent months. Forbes, Time, The Daily Beast, Site Selection Magazine, Area Development and Global Trade have all touted the state’s robust economy. The Lone Star State is first in job creation, first in export growth, first in population growth, first in relocations and expansions. Each week the list grows longer.

What’s often overlooked is Houston’s contribution to the state’s prosperity. The Bayou City has less than one-fourth the state’s population yet, depending on the category, accounts for a third to half the state’s economic growth. No other Texas metro can make that claim. What follows are five indicators of Texas growth and Houston’s share of those metrics.

Gross Domestic Product

Job CreationTexas gross domestic product—the broadest measure of economic activity—grew by $257.1 billion between ’09 and ’12. The Houston area accounted for more than one-third of that growth. Houston’s contribution exceeds that of Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth combined.

TEXAS GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT


Millions of Dollars* Change % Texas
Growth
State/Metro ’12 ’09 $ %
Texas $1,397,369 $1,140,218 $257,151 22.6% 100.0
Houston $449,439 $356,514 $92,925 26.1% 36.1
Austin $98,677 $80,542 $18,135 22.5% 7.1
Dallas-Ft. Worth $420,340 $352,993 $67,347 19.1% 26.2
San Antonio $91,995 $76,864 $15,131 19.7% 5.9
El Paso $29,717 $25,745 $3,972 15.4% 1.5
Rest of State $307,201 $247,560 $59,641 24.1% 23.2
 
Note: ’09 was chosen as the base because it was the bottom of the recession.
2009 Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis * nominal dollars

Exports

Texas ExportsTexas exports grew from $206.9 billion in 2010 to $264.7 billion in 2012, an increase of $57.7 billon. Houston accounted for more than half of that growth. It helps that the metro area has four ports—Houston, Texas City, Galveston and Freeport—whose combined shipments exceed $79.8 billion.

MERCHANDISE EXPORTS


Shipments (Millions) Change % of Texas
Growth
State/Metro ’12 ’10 $ %
Texas $264,709 $206,992 $57,716 27.9% 100.0
Houston $110,298 $80,570 $29,728 36.9% 51.5
Austin $8,977 $8,868 $109 1.2% 0.2
Dallas-Ft. Worth $27,821 $22,500 $5,321 23.6% 9.2
San Antonio $14,010 $6,416 $7,594 118.4% 13.2
El Paso $12,797 $10,316 $2,481 24.1% 4.3
Rest of State $90,806 $78,322 $12,484 15.9% 21.6
 
Source: U.S. International Trade Administration

Bank Deposits

Bank DepositsBank deposits at FDIC-insured institutions in Texas grew more than $153.1 billion between June 30, 2010 and June 30, 2013. Nearly half that growth occurred at Houston financial institutions. Houston’s growth exceeded the combined growth of Austin, Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Antonio and El Paso.

FDIC INSURED BANK DEPOSITS – As of June 30 Each Year


Total Deposits (Billions) Change % of Texas
Growth
State/Metro ’13 ’10 $ %
Texas $652,387 $499,211 $153,176 30.7% 100.0
Houston $208,033 $137,113 $70,920 51.7% 46.3
Austin $30,293 $22,967 $7,326 31.9% 4.8
Dallas-Ft. Worth $187,998 $154,211 $33,787 21.9% 22.1
San Antonio $82,387 $59,800 $22,587 37.8% 14.7
El Paso $6,832 $5,963 $868 14.6% 0.6
Rest of State $136,846 $119,157 $17,688 14.8% 11.5
 
Source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

Housing Construction

HousingMore than 300,000 single-family homes have been built in Texas since January 2010. The state has led the nation’s housing recovery. One in every three homes constructed in Texas since January 2010 was built in metro Houston.

SINGLE-FAMILY HOME CONSTRUCTION


Jan ’10 – Aug ’13
State/Metro Homes % of Texas
Growth
Texas 275,329 100.0
Houston 98,254 35.7
Austin 26,948 9.8
Dallas-Ft. Worth 61,326 22.3
San Antonio 18,782 6.8
El Paso 11,119 4.0
Rest of State 58,900 21.4
   
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Employment

Jobs

Employment in Texas is at a record high. The state has recovered all jobs lost in the recession plus some. Houston has contributed more than any other metro to that new watermark.

The statement is based on a simple premise. A metro must recover what it lost before it expands, and it’s the jobs created in the expansion that help the state set new records for job growth. By that measure, Houston has created more jobs during the expansion than any other Texas metro. Houston’s employment is 175,700 jobs above its previous peak, which equates to nearly one-third of the jobs created during the state’s expansion. Dallas, which took slightly longer to recover, is 153,500 above its previous peak, which equates to slightly over one-fourth the Texas jobs created in the expansion.

RECESSION AND RECOVERY - TEXAS FIVE MOST POPULOUS METRO AREAS

Texas Houston Austin Dallas-Ft. Worth San Antonio El Paso
Previous Jobs Peak 10,635,700 2,615,100 778,800 2,987,200 854,500 280,200
Jobs Lost in Recession -422,100 -117,400 -24,000 -152,900 -22,800 -8,000
Return to Peak Nov ’11 Nov ’11 Nov ’10 Mar ’12 Apr ’11 Jul ’11
Current Employment 11,188,700 2,790,800 847,500 3,140,700 890,100 285,200
Jobs Above Previous Peak 553,000 175,700 68,700 153,500 35,600 5,000
% of Texas New Jobs 100.0% 31.8% 12.4% 27.8% 6.4% 0.9%
 
Note: All employment numbers are seasonally adjusted.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What will 2014 Look Like?

Jobs Outlook 2014 GHP is hosting its annual Economic Outlook Event Tuesday, December 3, at the Hilton Americas. This year’s event features a panel of business leaders discussing Houston economic trends. The panelists include:

  • Robert C. Robbins, M.D., President and CEO, Texas Medical Center
  • Darryl Wilson, Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, GE - Power & Water, GE
  • Mark A. Cover, Senior Managing Director and CEO, Southwest Region, Hines

Shern-Min Chow, Anchor for KHOU-TV, will moderate the panel discussion.

John E. Silvia, Chief Economist, Wells Fargo, will be the luncheon keynote speaker. He will provide the U.S. economic outlook. Patrick Jankowski, GHP Vice President of Research, will present the 2014 Houston employment forecast.

Full-day tickets include the panel discussion, GHP’s forecast, luncheon, keynote speech, and a copy of Houston Economic Highlights, A 60-page compendium of insights into changes that have occurred in Houston’s economy over the past decade.

For more information on the event, please click here Jobs Outlook 2014





MONDAY OCTOBER 14, 2013

If Houston were a Village of 100 People . . .

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that metro Houston had 6,177,035 residents on July 1, 2012. Based on recent trends, the region’s population probably exceeds 6.3 million today. That’s a hard number for some to fathom, especially when one considers all the demographic, social and economic characteristics of 6.3 million people. But if Houston were a village of 100 people, that might be easier to grasp. Based on recently released census data, if Houston were a village of 100 people this is how our hamlet would look:

If Houston were a village of 100 people:
  • 50 would be male
  • 50 would be female
There would be:
  • 23 children under the age of 15
  • 14 residents between the ages of 15 and 24
  • 54 adults in their prime earning years, ages 25-64
  • 9 of the adults would 65 years old and older
10 Houstonians would have disabilities

If Houston were a village of 100 people:
  • 78 would have been born in the U.S.
  • 22 would have been born overseas
    • 1 would have been born in Europe
    • 1 would have been born in Africa
    • 4 would have been born in Asia
    • 16 would have been born in Latin America
  • 14 of the 22 villagers would not be U.S. citizens

If Houston were a village of 100 people:
  • 62 Houstonians would speak only English at home
  • 38 would speak a language other than English

If Houston were a village of 100 people, there would be::
  • 7 Asians
  • 17 Blacks
  • 36 Hispanics
  • 39 Anglos
  • 1 person of mixed race

If Houston were a village of 100 people, among the 63 adults:
  • 6 would have less than a ninth grade education
  • 6 would have not completed high school
  • 15 would have a high school diploma
  • 18 would have some college or an associate’s degree
  • 12 would have graduated college
  • 6 would have a graduate degree

If Houston were a village of 100 people, among the residents over the age of 16:
  • 51 would be in the workforce
    • 47 would hold jobs
    • 4 would be unemployed

If Houston were a village of 100 people, among the employed residents:
  • 1 would work in information
  • 2 would work in energy
  • 2 would work in wholesale
  • 2 would work in other services
  • 3 would work in real estate and finance
  • 4 would work in arts, entertainment, restaurants and hotels
  • 4 would work in construction
  • 5 would work in manufacturing
  • 5 would work in retail
  • 6 would work in business and professional services
  • 9 would work in education and health care
  • 1 would work for the government

Of those holding jobs:
  • 38 would drive alone to work every day
  • 5 would carpool
  • 1 would take public transportation
  • 1 would travel by other means
  • 3 would work at home
  • If Houston were a village of 100 people:
  • 77 would have health insurance coverage
  • 23 would be uninsured
If Houston were a village of 100 people, 16 would live in poverty; seven of those would be children.

The village numbers are derived from the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey. When calculating the village, the residents were rounded to the nearest whole number, (i.e., only 1.7 workers would be employed in energy, but who ever heard of seven-tenths of a person.) The actual population numbers and percentages can be found at the U.S. Census Bureau website, www.census.gov, once the federal shutdown ends and the website is back up.


noteOn another note: GHP is hosting its Economic Outlook Event Tuesday, December 3, at the Hilton Americas. The event includes a panel of local business leaders discussing Houston economic trends; the Partnership’s employment forecast for 2014; a copy of Houston Economic Highlights (a 60-page compendium of economic and demographic insights); and a luncheon with a keynote presentation by John Silvia, Chief Economist for Wells Fargo. For more information on the event, please click here.




THURSDAY OCTOBER 10, 2013

It costs less to live in Houston

Houston has the lowest cost of living among the nation’s most populous metropolitan areas. That’s according to data released recently by the Washington-based Council for Community and Economic Research, also known as C2ER.

C2ER publishes a quarterly Cost of Living Index. The organization has been doing so for more than 40 years. The index is based on a basket of goods and services, 57 items ranging from groceries, to housing, to health care to entertainment, that reflect typical purchases for a professional- or middle-management household.

The index for the second quarter of ’13 shows that Houston’s housing costs are 37.8 percent below the average for all metros with 2.5 million or more residents. Houston’s overall living costs are 18.2 percent below the average for this group. If one excludes the most expensive housing markets—San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC and San Diego—markets which tend to skew the average, Houston’s housing costs are still 22.8 percent below the major metro average.

Cost of Living Comparisons

Cost of Living Comparisons

For all 304 urban areas in the survey, Houston’s housing costs are 12.7 percent below the average and overall living costs are 6.8 below the average. That’s for both large and small urban areas. So even though housing costs have risen recently, housing is still a bargain in Houston. To learn about the Council for Community and Economic Research click here. To learn about the Cost of Living Index, click here.




THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 26, 2013

Beep beep'm beep beep yeah!

Houstonians like their cars, but that’s not surprising. So do most Americans. And the half hour we spend in traffic every morning may seem like forever, but it’s actually about average for a major metro. At least that’s what data recently released from the U.S. Census Bureau tells us.

According to the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey:
  • Nine out of 10 Houstonians commute to work via car, truck or van.
  • Eight out of 10 drive alone.
  • Only one in 10 carpools.
  • One in 29 works at home.
  • One in 39 uses public transit.
  • One in 71 walks.

Means Houstonians Travel to Work

What’s the American Community Survey? The ACS is an ongoing statistical survey that Census send to approximately 250,000 addresses across the nation monthly. It provides a snapshot of the demographic, social, economic and housing characteristics of the population. Questions on commuting are a key part of the survey.

A few more insights about Houston commuters:

The average travel time here is 28.6 minutes compared to 26.2 minutes on average for the nation’s 50 largest metros.

One in three Houstonians travels less than 20 minutes to work each day, but one in ten travels more than an hour.

Want to beat the traffic? Then leave early. One in nine commuters leaves the house between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m. One in four leaves between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. And it’s a good bet that some of the commuters who left early are still on the road after 6:30.

A few notes of caution about the data. The ACS reflects typical commute times and patterns in 2012. The region’s economy has grown considerably, adding 51,000 jobs since January 1 this year that affect current commute patterns. That suggests an additional 40,000 commuters on the roads and highways each morning. Also the ACS does not examine travel patterns of students enrolled in schools, colleges and universities, many of who leave for classes at the same time job holders leave for work. Even with its flaws, the survey provides insight and a means to compare commute times across metro areas. A look at how Houston fared (in 2012) against the top 50 can be found below.

MEANS OF TRAVEL TO WORK, PERCENT OF COMMUTERS
50 Most Populous Metros - Ranked by Commuters Who Drive Alone
 
Metro Area Car, Truck, Van Drive Alone Carpool Public Transit Walk Bicycle Other Work at Home
1 Birmingham, AL 94.9 85.7 9.1 0.6 1.0 0.1 0.5 2.9
2 Detroit, MI 92.7 83.7 8.9 1.6 1.3 0.3 0.8 3.4
3 Cincinnati, OH 91.9 83.5 8.3 1.8 2.0 0.1 0.7 3.5
4 Kansas City, MO 92.2 83.2 8.9 1.1 1.3 0.2 1.1 4.2
5 Memphis, TN 93.5 83.0 10.5 1.2 1.2 0.1 0.9 3.0
6 Oklahoma City, OK 93.1 82.9 10.2 0.4 1.7 0.3 1.2 3.3
7 Louisville, KY 92.2 82.9 9.3 1.8 1.8 0.2 0.8 3.2
8 Buffalo, NY 90.4 82.9 7.5 3.0 2.9 0.5 0.8 2.3
9 Indianapolis, IN 92.0 82.6 9.4 1.2 1.6 0.3 0.9 4.0
10 Nashville, TN 92.0 82.4 9.6 1.1 1.2 0.1 1.0 4.7
11 St. Louis, MO 90.6 82.4 8.1 2.3 1.7 0.3 0.9 4.2
12 Cleveland-, OH 89.7 82.3 7.4 3.2 2.3 0.3 0.9 3.6
13 Columbus, OH 90.5 82.1 8.4 1.6 2.0 0.5 1.1 4.3
14 Richmond, VA 90.8 81.5 9.3 1.6 1.5 0.5 0.9 4.7
15 Hartford, CT 89.1 81.4 7.6 3.4 2.7 0.2 0.9 3.7
16 Dallas-Ft Worth, TX 91.0 80.9 10.2 1.5 1.2 0.2 1.5 4.6
17 Virginia Beach, VA 89.9 80.9 8.9 1.9 2.7 0.4 0.9 4.3
18 Orlando, FL 90.0 80.8 9.2 2.0 1.2 0.6 1.7 4.6
19 Jacksonville, FL 90.7 80.7 9.9 1.3 1.3 0.7 1.3 4.7
20 Providence, RI 89.2 80.4 8.8 2.9 3.2 0.3 1.1 3.2
21 Raleigh, NC 90.1 80.3 9.8 1.0 1.1 0.4 1.2 6.2
22 Milwaukee, WI 88.8 80.2 8.6 3.7 2.9 0.6 0.7 3.2
23 Tampa, FL 89.5 80.0 9.6 1.2 1.7 0.8 1.3 5.4
24 San Antonio, TX 90.8 79.7 11.1 2.3 1.7 0.1 1.0 4.1
25 Houston, TX 90.8 79.6 11.1 2.6 1.4 0.3 1.5 3.5
26 New Orleans, LA 89.6 79.2 10.4 2.7 2.5 1.0 1.6 2.6
27 Charlotte, NC 89.0 78.8 10.3 2.1 1.6 0.2 1.2 5.9
28 Las Vegas, NV 89.3 78.5 10.7 3.8 2.0 0.3 1.6 2.9
29 Minneapolis, MN 86.7 78.2 8.6 4.3 2.2 1.0 0.7 5.0
30 Atlanta, GA 88.5 78.0 10.5 2.9 1.4 0.1 1.1 5.9
31 Riverside, CA 91.1 77.7 13.4 1.5 1.6 0.4 1.0 4.4
32 Miami, FL 87.1 77.6 9.5 4.2 1.8 0.6 1.3 5.0
33 Phoenix, AZ 88.3 77.3 11.0 2.1 1.4 0.8 1.8 5.6
34 Pittsburgh, PA 86.3 77.3 9.0 5.5 3.4 0.3 0.9 3.6
35 San Jose, CA 87.0 76.5 10.6 3.4 1.6 1.9 1.4 4.6
36 Baltimore, MD 85.5 76.5 8.9 6.5 2.7 0.3 1.0 4.1
37 San Diego, CA 86.1 76.2 9.9 2.8 2.7 0.7 1.2 6.6
38 Austin, TX 87.0 76.0 11.0 2.3 2.0 0.9 1.4 6.4
39 Denver, CO 84.8 75.6 9.1 4.4 2.4 1.1 1.1 6.3
40 Sacramento, CA 86.6 75.5 11.2 2.3 2.2 1.9 0.9 6.0
41 Salt Lake City, UT 87.2 75.0 12.1 3.9 2.0 0.9 1.3 4.7
42 Los Angeles, CA 84.2 74.1 10.1 6.0 2.6 0.9 1.2 5.1
43 Philadelphia, PA 81.3 73.3 7.9 9.4 3.8 0.7 0.7 4.2
44 Chicago, IL 79.7 70.9 8.8 11.1 3.2 0.7 1.1 4.2
45 Portland, OR 80.6 70.8 9.7 6.0 3.8 2.3 1.0 6.4
46 Seattle, WA 80.1 69.6 10.5 8.5 3.6 1.2 1.1 5.5
47 Boston, MA 76.0 68.6 7.5 12.2 5.4 1.0 1.0 4.4
48 Washington, DC 76.0 65.8 10.2 14.1 3.2 0.8 0.9 5.0
49 San Francisco, CA 70.5 60.4 10.1 15.6 4.3 1.8 1.6 6.1
50 New York, NY 56.5 49.8 6.7 31.0 6.1 0.6 1.6 4.1
Top 50 Metro Avg 87.2 77.7 9.5 4.3 2.3 0.6 1.1 4.5
Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2012 American Community Survey

TRAVEL TIMES TO WORK
50 Most Populous Metros - Ranked by Average Commute Times

Time Leaving Home (a.m.) Travel Time To Work (Minutes)
Metro Area 6:00-6:30 6:30-7:30 7:30-8:30 < 20 60* Average
1 New York, NY 7.3 22.9 28.1 27.3 20.1 35.2
2 Washington, DC 9.3 22.9 24.7 25.5 16.6 34.0
3 Riverside, CA 9.2 21.4 17.5 37.7 16.4 31.2
4 Chicago, IL 10.1 23.8 22.2 31.8 12.8 30.6
5 San Francisco, CA 6.8 21.1 26.9 32.6 13.3 30.4
6 Atlanta, GA 9.5 24.9 23.9 31.6 10.7 30.0
7 Baltimore, MD 9.2 25.2 24.3 32.1 11.6 30.0
8 Boston, MA 8.3 24.0 26.8 34.7 12.1 29.5
9 Los Angeles, CA 8.9 22.4 22.5 34.3 11.3 28.9
10 Houston, TX 11.7 25.8 21.1 33.5 9.9 28.6
11 Philadelphia, PA 8.2 45.9 26.2 36.0 10.1 28.6
12 Seattle, WA 9.0 22.7 20.8 33.9 9.2 28.5
13 Miami, FL 7.4 23.7 26.5 32.0 8.1 28.0
14 Orlando, FL 7.7 22.6 25.0 34.7 7.0 27.3
15 Dallas-Ft Worth, TX 9.4 25.5 23.3 36.5 7.6 27.1
16 Denver, CO 9.5 26.8 23.3 34.9 6.7 26.9
17 Pittsburgh, PA 9.2 25.0 22.4 39.6 8.1 26.5
18 Nashville, TN 10.2 28.1 20.9 38.1 6.5 26.3
19 Detroit, MI 8.2 23.8 23.0 37.3 6.5 26.2
20 Tampa, FL 8.4 25.6 26.0 39.0 6.6 25.9
21 Birmingham, AL 9.7 30.2 20.5 37.4 6.2 25.8
22 Phoenix, AZ 10.0 23.9 19.6 37.1 6.0 25.8
23 San Jose, CA 6.9 19.0 25.1 37.7 7.1 25.7
24 Charlotte, NC 8.4 25.5 25.5 39.1 5.6 25.6
25 Providence, RI 8.4 25.1 24.7 43.7 8.2 25.5
26 Austin, TX 8.2 26.3 25.0 40.0 6.5 25.5
27 St. Louis, MO 10.2 25.8 21.9 39.3 5.9 25.4
28 New Orleans, LA 9.2 25.4 23.2 41.6 7.8 25.4
29 Sacramento, CA 7.5 24.0 24.0 42.8 6.7 25.4
30 Jacksonville, FL 9.4 25.4 24.5 39.5 5.5 25.2
31 Indianapolis, IN 9.0 26.7 24.7 38.9 5.0 25.1
32 Portland, OR 8.8 24.0 22.4 40.8 6.0 25.1
33 Richmond, VA 8.0 25.0 26.6 39.7 5.2 25.0
34 San Antonio, TX 10.3 28.1 21.3 39.9 5.9 24.9
35 Minneapolis, MN 8.6 26.3 23.8 38.9 5.5 24.9
36 Cleveland-, OH 8.7 25.7 24.0 39.9 4.8 24.6
37 San Diego, CA 9.3 24.4 21.8 41.0 5.6 24.6
38 Raleigh, NC 7.9 24.9 27.3 40.3 4.9 24.5
39 Cincinnati, OH 8.9 25.9 23.7 40.7 4.8 24.2
40 Las Vegas, NV 8.3 19.8 18.4 37.2 4.6 24.1
41 Virginia Beach, VA 11.4 24.7 21.7 42.6 4.8 24.0
42 Louisville, KY 8.3 24.1 22.8 41.5 4.2 23.7
43 Memphis, TN 9.2 25.9 23.1 39.7 3.3 23.5
44 Hartford, CT 7.7 25.9 27.0 44.8 4.6 23.4
45 Salt Lake City, UT 7.5 23.3 24.7 42.9 4.0 23.2
46 Milwaukee, WI 8.8 25.9 22.9 43.8 4.4 23.1
47 Columbus, OH 7.7 25.7 24.7 42.8 3.8 22.8
48 Kansas City, MO 8.5 26.8 26.4 44.6 3.4 22.7
49 Oklahoma City, OK 8.8 26.8 24.6 47.2 3.3 22.0
50 Buffalo, NY 7.1 24.7 26.3 50.3 3.2 20.9
Top 50 Metro Avg 8.8 25.2 23.8 38.4 7.4 26.2
Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2012 American Community Survey




WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 18, 2013

Bigger Than You Think

Houstonians sometimes take for granted the region’s economic muscle. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has provided the data and the Greater Houston Partnership conducted the analysis to put the region’s economy in perspective.

According to BEA, Houston’s gross domestic product—the most comprehensive measure of a region’s economic activity—climbed to $444.9 billion in 2012. That gives the Bayou City the fourth largest economy in the U.S., behind New York, Los Angles, and Chicago and ahead of Washington, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Philadelphia.
10 Largest U.S. Metro Economies – 2012
Rank Metro Area GDP
(Billions)

1

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

$1,358.4

2

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

765.8

3

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

571.0

4

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

449.4

5

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

448.7

6

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

420.3

7

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

364.0

8

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

360.4

9

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

336.2

10

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

294.6

Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis


Houston’s economic might is even impressive in a global context. If Houston were to secede—which at times seems like a good idea—the nine-county region would have the world’s 25th largest economy, behind Poland, Belgium and Argentina but ahead of Austria, South Africa and Venezuela.

Houston vs. Selected Global Economies – 2012

Global
Rank
Nation GDP
(Billions)
22

Poland

489.8
23

Belgium

483.7
24

Argentina

474.9
25

Houston Metro Area

449.4
26

Austria

399.6
27

South Africa

384.3
28

Venezuela

382.4

Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and International Monetary Fund


And at the rate Houston’s expanding—GDP grew 4.2 percent in 2011 and 5.3 percent in 2012—Houston should continue to move up the list of the world’s largest economies.



MONDAY SEPTEMBER 9, 2013

Houston Facts

A few tidbits about Houston:
Those details come from Houston Facts, a 68-page compendium of data gathered by the Partnership's research team. As explained in the introduction to Houston Facts:

"The title says much about this publication and the organization that produced it. No spin. No frills. No hyperbole. Just page after page of straightforward information from more than 300 sources to answer questions most frequently asked about the Houston region."

The Partnership and its predecessor organization have published Houston Facts continuously since 1959. There's even an old version in the files by a different name dating to 1906. The format may have changed over the years, but the purpose of the document hasn't—present unvarnished information about Houston. Check it out. The publication can be accessed here. Old-fashioned hard copies can be purchased by calling 713-844-9366.

One last tidbit: Area code 346 will be added to the Houston region in July of next year. That nugget can be found on page 38 of Houston Facts.

Houston Facts





WEDNESDAY AUGUST 21, 2013

Half a Trillion Dollars

$566,032,297,306 to be exact.

That’s the market value as of January 1, 2013 of all appraised property in the nine-county Houston metro area. The Houston metro includes Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller Counties.

That’s not taxable value. Local jurisdictions offer a host of exemptions. If you’re over 65, a veteran, or the property is your homestead (i.e., your full-time legal residence), you’re entitled to an exemption. If you’re a business and you have inventory destined for out-of-state buyers, you’ve installed pollution control equipment, or invested in wind or solar power, you qualify for exemptions. And certain non-profit agencies, entities and charities also qualify for exemptions. The list goes on.

After all the exemptions have been factored in, the actual taxable value of all properties in the nine-county metro area is $508,202,654,888.

If you divide that by the number of people who live in the Houston metro area—6,177,035 according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates—that equates to $82,272.91 in taxable property per person. This is another area where Houston nudges out Dallas-Ft. Worth. Dallas’s $545,365,500,803 in taxable value equates to $81,385.80 per resident.

A breakdown of Houston property values by category follows.
HOUSTON-THE WOODLANDS-SUGAR LAND METRO AREA PROPERTY VALUES
Category Market Value % of Market Value
Single-Family Homes $256,846,938,257 45.4%
Multi-Family Homes 23,456,516,821 4.1%
Mobile Homes 853,385,370 0.2%
Real Inventory1 1,770,732,485 0.3%
Vacant Land 10,776,867,196 1.9%
Farm & Ranch Land 15,455,990,254 2.7%
Farm & Ranch Improvements 2,927,843,656 0.5%
Utilities 7,274,671,660 1.3%
Commercial Real Estate 83,572,145,253 14.8%
Industrial Real Estate 33,654,495,981 5.9%
Commercial Personal Property2 29,635,829,456 5.2%
Industrial Personal Property3 38,535,598,636 6.8%
Exempt Properties4 57,829,642,418 10.2%
Other 3,441,639,863 0.6%
Total Value 566,032,297,306 100.0%
Value After Exemptions $508,202,654,888 89.8%
1 Idle tracts of land in some stage of development but on which no homes or buildings have been constructed
2 Typically includes inventories, supplies, furniture, fixtures, equipment
3 Typically includes equipment used in the development, manufacturing, processing or storage of manufactured product, also trucks, watercraft, drilling rigs, etc.
4 Primarily, but not limited to, public (i.e., government) property, religious organizations, charitable organizations, and other property not reported elsewhere
Source: Property Tax Assistance Division, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
For additional info on how the Texas Comptroller classifies properties for tax purposes, click here.





THURSDAY AUGUST 8, 2013

Cheap Date Index

In July of last year, Forbes ranked Houston as the coolest city to live in America. The Greater Houston Partnership would like to call the magazine’s attention to Houston’s place in another top list. Houston is one of the best places for a cheap date in America. The Partnership has the data to prove it.

Three times a year, the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER)1 coordinates a survey of living costs in the nation’s largest urban areas. The survey looks at nearly 60 items, ranging from the cost of a loaf of white bread to the price of a 2,400 square-foot-home in the suburbs. Researchers from more than 300 organizations gather data for their regions, submit the data to C2ER, which then analyzes the data to develop the C2ER Cost of Living Index. GHP’s Research Department gathers the data on behalf of the Houston region. Our region always fares well in the survey, but that’s the topic for another blog.

To create its “Cheap Date Index,” GHP pulled data from the C2ER survey that approximates the cost of dinner, drinks and a movie—a 12-inch cheese pizza from Pizza Hut or Pizza Inn, a six pack of 12-ounce Heineken in bottles, two tickets to an evening movie, and two gallons of unleaded gasoline. Gasoline is included because the cost of picking up and dropping one’s date has to be factored into the index. GHP analyzed the data and found Houston ranks fifth on its list of Best Places for a Cheap Date in America. That should be good news for Houstonian couples, young and old, married and single, dating or on a date-night, and who might be on a tight budget, or just cheap. The details follow.
CHEAP DATE INDEX
25 Most Populous Metro Areas
Metro Average = 100.0
Rank METRO Cost of a
Cheap Date
Cheap Date Index
Metro Avg = 100
% above/Below
Metro Avg
- Average, Top 25 Metros $46.73 100.00 -
1 Phoenix, AZ $40.69 87.08 -12.92
2 Denver, CO $41.88 89.62 -10.38
3 Tampa, FL $42.39 90.72 -9.28
4 Dallas, TX $42.59 91.15 -8.85
5 Houston, TX $42.89 91.78 -8.22
6 Detroit, MI $42.95 91.91 -8.09
7 St. Louis, MO-IL $43.36 92.79 -7.21
8 Minneapolis, MN $43.81 93.75 -6.25
9 Riverside City, CA $44.02 94.21 -5.79
10 Baltimore, MD $44.14 94.47 -5.53
11 Pittsburgh, PA $44.64 95.54 -4.46
12 Miami, FL $44.76 95.79 -4.21
13 Charlotte, NC $45.22 96.77 -3.23
14 Portland, OR $45.30 96.94 -3.06
15 Atlanta, GA $45.43 97.22 -2.78
16 Boston, MA $46.15 98.77 -1.23
17 Philadelphia, PA $46.56 99.65 0.35
18 Washington, DC $46.76 100.08 0.08
19 San Diego, CA $47.82 102.34 2.34
20 San Antonio, TX $48.23 103.21 3.21
21 San Francisco, CA $48.44 103.66 3.66
22 Seattle, WA $49.62 106.19 6.19
23 Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA $50.10 107.22 7.22
24 New York (Brooklyn), NY $51.24 109.65 9.65
New York (Queens), NY $56.08 120.01 20.01
New York (Manhattan), NY $57.28 122.59 22.59
25 Chicago, IL $59.29 126.88 26.88

Source: Calculations by the Greater Houston Partnership Research Department based on data extracted from the Council for Community and Economic Research Cost of Living Index
1The Council for Community and Economic Research is an association for professionals engaged in economic, community and workforce development. The blog’s author has recently completed a three-year term as a member of C2ER’s Board of Directors.





WEDNESDAY JULY 31, 2013

It’s not just about oil

The Houston metro area now ranks as the nation’s leading export center, overtaking New York last year and ranking well ahead of Los Angeles, Detroit and Seattle. And yes, this is another competition where Houston handily beats Dallas. The International Trade Administration (ITA) is the one keeping score. The details follow.

Top Ten MSA Exporters by 2012 Merchandise Export Value
(In Billions of US Dollars)
Rank Metro Area ’11 ’12 ’11–’12 $ Chg ’11–’12 % Chg
1 Houston $104.5 $110.3 $5.8 5.6%
2 New York $105.1 $102.3 -$2.8 -2.7%
3 Los Angeles $72.7 $75.0 $2.3 3.2%
4 Detroit $49.4 $55.4 $6.0 12.1%
5 Seattle $41.1 $50.3 $9.2 22.3%
6 Miami $43.1 $47.9 $4.7 11.0%
7 Chicago $39.5 $40.6 $1.0 2.6%
8 Dallas-Ft Worth $26.6 $27.8 $1.2 4.4%
9 San Jose $26.7 $26.7 $0.0 -0.1%
10 Minneapolis $26.2 $25.2 -$1.0 -3.9%
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration
While the press cites the surge in oil exploration, specifically the activities associated with hydraulic fracking, as supporting Houston’s strong economic performance, not enough attention is paid to Houston’s role as an exporter. Over the last eight years, exports from Houston have grown by more than 164 percent, from $41.7 billion in 2005 to $110.3 billion last year. Exports from Houston are now at an all-time high.

According to a recent study by the Brookings Institute, exports now account for one in every seven dollars of Houston’s gross domestic product. Using data from Brookings, GHP’s research department estimates that exports support, either directly or indirectly, 340,000 Houston area jobs, or one in every eight jobs in the region.

It should surprise no one what our major exports are—petroleum products, chemicals, industrial machinery, computers, oil extraction services—all core segments of our economic base.

The North American Free Trade Agreement is having an impact on exports. U.S. metro area exports to Mexico increased 9.1 percent between 2011 and 2012. Exports to the rest of the world grew only 4.3 percent. Mexico is also Houston’s top export destination. Houston shipped $17.2 billion in goods and merchandise to Mexico last year, accounting for 15.6 percent of total exports.

It is too early to estimate the long-term impact that the trade agreements recently signed with Panama and Colombia will have on trade. The agreements with Panama and Colombia were ratified by the U.S. in October 2011. But the early results are impressive. Houston’s trade with Panama grew from $784 million in 2011 to $1.784 billion in 2012. Houston’s trade with Colombia grew from $2.873 billion in 2011 to $3.836 billion in 2012.

This suggests that Houston will benefit significantly from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, i.e. free trade with Europe, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, i.e. free trade with Asia that the U.S. is currently negotiating.

To read the International Trade Administration’s full report, click here.





WEDNESDAY JULY 24, 2013

Celebrating a Summer Splashdown

Today marks a milestone in Houston’s history. On July 24, 1969, the Apollo 11 Command Module splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Most historians cite July 20, 1969, the date man first walked on the moon, as the more significant milestone. But when President John F. Kennedy addressed a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961, he framed the challenge as, “. . . landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

So the mission wasn’t accomplished until Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and were safely on the deck of the U.S.S. Hornet three days after departing from the moon. In honor of the successful completion of the Apollo 11 mission, this blog entry shares a few facts about Houston and the Johnson Space Center, then and now.

Then: 1,236 accredited news media representatives from 42 countries covered the Apollo 11 moon landing at the Manned Spacecraft Center.
Now: Approximately 600 U.S. and foreign journalists visit the center each year.

Then: The 1,620 acre complex was known as the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC).
Now: The MSC was renamed the Johnson Space Center in 1973 to honor the late president and Texas native, Lyndon B. Johnson.

Then: NASA’s budget was $4.2 billion, or about 2.3 percent of federal spending, in 1969. Adjusted for inflation, that’s equivalent to $26.7 billion today.
Now: For fiscal ’14, NASA’s proposed budget is $17.8 billion, or about 0.5 percent of federal spending.

Then: Total employment in the Houston metro area was 853,900 at the time of Apollo 11 launch.
Now: Total employment in metro Houston now exceeds 2.8 million.

Then: In 1969, metro Houston, with 1.9 million residents, ranked thirteenth in population.
Now: In 2012, metro Houston, with 6.2 million residents, ranked fifth in population.

Then: Thirty-two astronauts were part of the Apollo program.
Now: Today, approximately 110 astronauts now train at JSC.

Then: During the Apollo 11 mission, the MSC had 4,383 full-time civil service personnel, 2,463 of which were engineers, scientists, and medical personnel. Another 9,000 employees of support contractors worked at the MSC and in the Clear Lake area.
Now: Today, the JSC employs 3,000 civil servants, many of which are engineers and scientists. Contactors employ another 12,000 in nearby office buildings and other facilities.

Then: The Apollo 11 mission lasted eight days.
Now: The International Space Station (ISS) has been continuously occupied since November 2, 2000.

Then: Twenty-four of the Apollo astronauts flew in space.
Now: Since 2010, 204 individuals have visited the International Space Station.

Then: “Houston” was the first word spoken from the moon. When the lunar lander touched the moon’s surface, Neil Armstrong radioed back: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
Now: Every communication initiated from the ISS to mission control begins with “Houston.”

To learn more about the Johnson Space Center, go to the website http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/home/index.html





WEDNESDAY JULY 17, 2013

No Shame in Second Place

Houston has the second highest concentration of engineers (22.4 for every 1,000 workers) and the second largest population of engineers (59,070) in the United States.

Who has the largest engineering population?

Los Angeles—a metro area with double Houston’s employment base—ranks first with 70,182 engineers. However, the City of Angels ranked 33rd in concentration.

Who has the highest concentration of engineers?

San Jose—the capital of Silicon Valley—ranks first with 45.0 engineers for every 1,000 workers.

Given the competition, second place is not too shabby.

The Greater Houston Partnership reviewed engineering populations in all U.S. metro areas with 250,000 or more workers to determine the rankings. A list of those metros can be found here. The data comes from the Occupational Employment Statistics series developed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau estimated the number of aerospace, agricultural, biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, electronics, environmental, health and safety, industrial, marine, material, mechanical, mining, nuclear, petroleum and miscellaneous engineers working in each metro area as of May ‘12.
TOP 20 U.S. ENGINEERING CENTERS Ranked by Concentration of Engineering Occupations
       
Rank Metro Area Total Engineers Engineers per 1,000 Employees
       
1 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 40,400 45.0
2 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 59,070 22.4
3 Wichita, KS 5,870 20.9
4 Dayton, OH 7,650 20.8
5 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 25,490 20.2
6 Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC 5,710 19.1
7 Albuquerque, NM 6,810 18.7
8 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 43,340 17.5
9 Bakersfield-Delano, CA 4,680 17.1
10 Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO 20,910 17.0
11 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 49,200 16.9
12 Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 29,540 16.7
13 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 26,920 16.2
14 Baton Rouge, LA 5,750 15.9
15 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA NECTA Division 27,170 15.9
16 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 8,760 15.9
17 Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC 4,620 15.8
18 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 30,040 15.2
19 Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX 12,320 15.2
20 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 10,830 15.1
 
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

Special thanks to GHP Research Intern Aldo Frosinini for his assistance with the analysis.





WEDNESDAY JULY 10, 2013

Barely Above Minimum Wage

In a follow up to last week’s blog post, the 25 worst paid occupations in the Houston are listed below. To screen out the oddball occupations at which few people actually work (e.g. kiln tenders, freezing equipment operators, motion picture projectionists, etc.) only occupations with 1,000 or more employees are included in the list.

To put the wages below in perspective, a Houstonian working 2,200 hours a year (52 weeks, 40 hours a week, no vacation) and paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would earn $15,950 year. To see a list of the best paid occupations in Houston, go to last week’s blog post.

The 25 Worst Paid Occupations in Metro Houston

Occupation How many Houstonians hold this job? Average Annual Salary - $
     

Dishwashers

7,170

17,400

Food Concession Counter Attendants

9,450

17,710

Lifeguards

2,580

17,720

Ushers, Lobby Attendants, and Ticket Takers

1,730

17,960

Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners

10,890

18,060

Fast Food Cooks

5,750

18,060

Dining Room Attendants and Bartender Helpers

8,450

18,070

Childcare Workers

14,970

18,150

Food Preparation Workers

9,450

18,950

Hotel, Motel, and Resort Desk Clerks

3,420

18,980

Restaurant Hosts and Hostesses

6,650

19,010

Textile and Garment Pressers

1,480

19,250

Amusement and Recreation Room Attendants

3,630

19,310

Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Workers

3,540

19,690

Cashiers

54,010

19,710

Hospital and Residential Care Food Servers

2,720

19,920

Parking Lot Attendants

2,620

19,950

Janitors

44,640

20,100

Waiters and Waitresses

46,660

20,220

Restaurant Cooks

18,900

20,540

Bakers

2,880

20,640

Residential Advisors (Dorms and Group Homes)

1,570

20,730

Medical Orderlies

1,450

20,770

Teacher Assistants

16,310

20,870

Short Order Cooks

2,580

20,930

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics


If you need to know more about various occupations, you can do so by clicking here.





WEDNESDAY JULY 03, 2013

Wish I Knew This Before Declaring a Major

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates wages for more than 800 occupations in all 375 U.S. metro areas. A little data crunching and a picture emerges of the 25 best paid occupations in Houston.

The 25 Best Paid Occupations in Metro Houston

Occupation

How many Houstonians hold this job?

Average Annual Salary - $

Anesthesiologists

960

240,840

Chief Executives

3,150

217,610

Obstetricians and Gynecologists

1,020

217,570

Orthodontists

UKN

200,140

Internists

1,020

195,990

Family and General Practitioners

1,510

189,960

Dentists

1,180

183,270

Architectural and Engineering Managers

8,210

181,260

Nurse Anesthetists

1,780

173,800

Physicians and Surgeons

4,050

170,290

Lawyers

10,910

163,880

Pediatricians

650

162,820

Geoscientists

7,720

160,270

Physicists

620

157,240

Natural Sciences Managers

600

157,110

Petroleum Engineers

14,160

156,730

Computer and Information Systems Managers

4,970

143,920

Marketing Managers

2,920

140,550

Financial Managers

8,980

138,080

Psychiatrists

370

135,450

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

830

134,970

Mining and Geological Engineers

480

134,080

Chemical Engineers

3,740

132,620

Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

UKN

130,660

Industrial Production Managers

3,930

126,280

UNK = Unknown

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics


Should be no surprise that the best paid jobs are highly skilled, require years of training, and embody signficant levels of responsibility. The table includes wages as of May ’12. Data for May ’13 will be available this time next year. If you need to know more about various occupations, you can do so by clicking here.

Watch the next blog post for the 25 worst paid occupations in Houston.





THURSDAY JUNE 27, 2013

One Boiled Egg Equals One New Job

Though Houston’s job growth has slowed in recent months, the region still beats the pants off just about every other U.S. metro area. Between May ’12 and May ’13, the 10-county metro area created 91,600 net new jobs. That equates to 10.5 net new jobs every hour over the past 12 months. In other words, it took less than six minutes—about the time it takes to boil an egg—for Houston to create one new job.

How do other metros compare? Only two other metros—New York and Dallas—both with larger populations than Houston, created jobs at a faster rate. The jobs-per-hour rate for the nation’s 20 most populous metro areas follows.
JOB CREATION RATE, MAY ’12 – MAY ’13
20 Most Populous U.S. Metro Areas
Metropolitan Area Total Jobs Created Jobs Created Per Hour*

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA

    133,800

   15.3

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

    107,800

   12.3

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX

     91,600

   10.5

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA

     68,600

     7.8

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI

     62,500

     7.1

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH

     55,100

     6.3

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

     48,500

     5.5

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA

     47,900

     5.5

Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ

     47,200

     5.4

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

     45,200

     5.2

San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA

     37,500

     4.3

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

     33,800

     3.9

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

     32,600

     3.7

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL

     27,500

     3.1

Baltimore-Towson, MD

     25,300

     2.9

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

     23,900

     2.7

San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA

     20,300

     2.3

Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI

     19,400

     2.2

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

     11,700

     1.3

St. Louis, MO-IL

       9,400

     1.1

* Rate has been rounded to the nearest tenth of a minute
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics and Greater Houston Partnership Calculations





WEDNESDAY JUNE 19, 2013

Houstonians are More Confident than the Rest of the Nation

CNN released today the results of a nationwide poll conducted June 11-13 on Americans’ views of the U.S. economy. The results:
Recent consumer behavior seems to support the pollster’s findings. Nationally, auto makers are on pace to sell 15.2 million autos and light-duty trucks this year, up from 10.4 million in ’09, while builders are on pace to complete more than 900,000 single-family homes this year, up from 554,000 in '09. U.S. consumers are growing more confident they will be able to make mortgage payments and pay car notes in the future and are willing to take on the debt.

The 32nd Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey conducted this past spring asked a set of similar questions of local residents. In that survey, 51 percent of the respondents believe they will financially be “better off” three or four years down the road and 58 percent rated job opportunities in Houston as “excellent” or “good.”

Local consumer behavior bears this out. Houston-area realtors are on pace to sell more than 82,000 homes this year, up from 63,800 sold in '09, the bottom of the local housing recession. The metro area’s auto dealers are on pace to sell more than 330,000 cars and trucks, up from 218,700 in '09, the bottom of the local auto recession. And the region has created more than 300,000 jobs since January ’10, the bottom of the recession.

Bottom line: When comparing the CNN poll with the Kinder Survey, one thing jumps out—Houstonians strongly believe they are better off and their prospects are brighter than their American counterparts.





WEDNESDAY JUNE 12, 2013

Oil Imports and Jobs

Houston PortTrade data for the first four months of the year are now available. A quick look at Houston’s numbers revealed an interesting trend—imports are down by almost a fourth compared to last year. What’s causing this shift toward a more favorable balance of payments?

Answer: A drop in oil imports by almost a third. This time last year, more than $32.0 billion in crude and refined products entered the United States via the Houston-Galveston Customs District. So far this year, that number has dropped to $21.5 billion. The scenario is playing out at customs districts across the nation. U.S. oil imports, measured in dollars, are down 15.5 percent compared to last year. A slight drop in crude prices has aided the decline. U.S. refiners were paying $108 per barrel of imported crude last April compared to $95 this April. But a sheer drop in the volume of imported oil has played a bigger role. The U.S. imported almost ten million fewer tons of oil and refined products in the first fourth months of 2013 than in 2012.

Bottom line: the current boom in places like the Eagle Ford in Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota are not just jobs generators, they’re helping reduce the U.S. trade deficit as well.



FRIDAY APRIL 19, 2013

An Introduction

Thirty-two years ago, almost to the day, I wrote my first article about Houston's economy. The article appeared in Houston Magazine, the aptly named publication of the Houston Chamber of Commerce, GHP's predecessor. The article's title: The Glamour of Publishing – "Or it seemed like a good idea at the time." The quote came from Bob Gray, the founder of the Houston Business Journal. Thirty-two years ago HBJ was the only publication of its kind in the U.S.

Much has changed since then. Nearly three million more people live here. One million more work here. Several of the publications featured in the article—a few for which I once wrote—have folded. HBJ is now one of dozens of business journals published in cities around the nation. And the web has replaced the paper as most people's primary source for news and information.

One thing hasn't changed—my affection for this city. I was born and raised here. My boyhood home was one block from the intersection of Fulton and 610. My family moved to Sharpstown in its heyday. My buddies and I hunted rabbits in the fields where Dun Huang Plaza now stands. Except for my years away at college, I have lived here all my life. For most of the past three decades I have worked to promote the region, first as a writer, then as an economic developer, and now as economist with GHP. I've watched the region grow, and with it my understanding of why Houston is "a great place to live, work and do business" has grown.

Those aren't my words; they belong to Louie Welch, my first boss at the Chamber. Those words ring as true now as they did three decades ago.

With the launching of this blog, I hope to share some of the insights I have gathered over more than 30 years of studying Houston's economy. The blog will also provide data updates, economic analysis, and local commentaries. My goal—to help you understand the forces driving Houston's economy so you can make better-informed decisions.

The article that I wrote 32 years ago ended with a quote from the Joe Murphy, publisher of Houston City Magazine. Back then, most magazines failed within a year, many after just one issue.

With such a high failure rate, why take the risk?

Murphy replied: "It (publishing) is probably the last bastion of unrestrained capitalism."

After 32 years of studying the local economy, I realize the same can be said about Houston.

Welcome to the GHP Research Blog.



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