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The greatest gains will occur in administrative support; government; health care and social assistance; professional, scientific, and technical services; and restaurants and bars.
Several factors will drive Houston’s growth in ’22: a strong U.S. economy, expanding global trade, energy consumption returning to pre-crisis levels, pent-up consumer demand, local population growth, and the ongoing housing boom. The recovery will continue to face headwinds, however. Elevated inflation, supply chain woes, and worker shortages may temper growth but won’t halt it.
Adjusted for inflation, gross domestic product (GDP) should grow 3.6 percent in ’22, according to economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal in October. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecasts U.S. growth at 3.9 percent. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Survey of Professional Forecasters pegs GDP growth at 4.4 percent.
U.S. JOB GROWTH
As of November ’21, the nation had recovered roughly 80 percent of the 22.1 million jobs lost in the early stages of the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, the U.S. averaged 200,000 new jobs per month. The consensus of the 47 professional forecasters surveyed in September by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) is for the U.S. to average 321,000 new jobs per month in ’22. According to The Wall Street Journal’s survey, the U.S. should add 350,000 jobs per month in ’22. The Survey of Professional Forecasters calls for 456,300 jobs per month. At even the lower range of forecasts, the U.S. should recoup all its pandemic losses by late ’22 or early ’23.
The resurgence of economic activity in the first half of ‘21 lifted global trade above its pre-pandemic peak, according to the World Trade Organization. The WTO predicts global merchandise trade growth of 10.8 percent in ’21—up from 8.0 percent forecasted in March—followed by a 4.7 percent rise in ’22. That’s up from 4.1 percent in an earlier forecast.
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Note: The geographic area referred to in this publication as “Houston,” "Houston Area” and “Metro Houston” is the nine-county Census designated metropolitan statistical area of Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX. The nine counties are: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller.