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Economy at a Glance - June 2021

In this edition, we explore Houston's reopening economy, the pandemic recovery, $70 oil and more.
Published on 6/16/21

Houston: The Economy at a Glance is a free monthly publication, which offers the latest data along with expert commentary on the Houston region’s economy. Below is an excerpt from the report.

HOUSTON REOPENS

The Partnership conducted a major survey of its members in early June to help local employees see how others are handling the tough issues surrounding reopening.

Most Partnership members will have fully reopened their offices by the end of June, if they have not done so already. The process varies though, with as many firms requiring employees in the office five days a week as require two days or less. The hybrid environment has forced many to rethink their real estate needs as well, with over 20 percent planning to eventually reduce their footprint. 

Those are the major conclusions from a survey the Partnership conducted of its members in early June. Responses came from 140 companies in 15 industries. Roughly one-third of respondents had 500 or more employees, one-third 51 to 500 employees, and one third 50 or fewer employees. The Partnership conducted the survey to help local employees see how others are handling the tough issues surrounding reopening.

Timing of Reopening

When asked about reopening, half (50 percent) of survey respondents either never closed or have already resumed full operations; another 16 percent are opening in June. By September, 90 percent expect to have fully reopened. 

Less than half (44 percent) expect their employees in the office four or more days per week. More than half (56 percent) expect employees in the office three days or less. At least 60 percent of respondents indicated they will have at least one day a month (or week) in which all employees are expected to be in the office at the same time.

Three-fourths of the responses came from four sectors: energy (upstream, midstream, power, renewables), F.I.R.E. (finance, insurance, and real estate), non-profit organizations, and professional services. Non-profits and professional services lean toward requiring their employees in the office three days or less each week. Firms in energy and F.I.R.E are split between four to five days per week and three days or less.

Vaccinations

The survey found that only 8 percent of respondents are requiring vaccinations as a condition of return to work. However, one-fourth offer a tangible, monetary, or time-off reward for getting vaccinated.

A little over half (52 percent) are tracking employee vaccinations. Of those, about a third (36 percent) require proof and another third (33 percent) are conducting non-anonymous surveys.

Social Distancing

Over half of all respondents (55 percent) require non-vaccinated employees to wear masks. The rest are split between mandating masks for all (22 percent) and mandating masks regardless of vaccination status (24 percent).

Only 21 percent have eliminated social distancing indoors. The rest require social distancing of all employees (41 percent) or amongst the un-vaccinated (38 percent). 

The top three health and safety measures being deployed are enhanced cleaning services (selected by 72 percent), limiting elevator capacity (selected by 64 percent), and providing individual safety equipment and supplies (selected by 46 percent). 

One in five firms expect to reduce the amount of office space they lease. Of those, 73 percent are reducing by more than 20 percent, including 27 percent who are reducing by more than 40 percent.

To continue reading, please download the full report. 

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.

Key June Takeaways

Here are the facts to know about the Houston region this month
1
June Takeaway #1
Metro Houston created 18,700 jobs in April, the third best April on record.
2
June Takeaway #2
The Houston apartment market has reached a tipping point. According to Apartment Data Services (ADS), overall occupancy hit 90.1 percent in May. Rates over 90 percent signal a landlord friendly market, rates under 90 percent a tenant friendly market.
3
June Takeaway #3
West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for light, sweet crude, has traded near $70 per barrel since early June, a level not seen since October ’18.

Want to learn more? Contact our Research Team:

Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Senior Vice President, Research
713-844-3616
Elizabeth Balderrama
Manager, Research
713-844-3615

Previous Issues of Economy at a Glance

May
2021
Housing Boom and Robust Recovery
Read Report
APR
2021
Pandemic Recovery, Tech Workforce
Read Report
MAR
2021
Pandemic Employment Data
Read Report
FEB
2021
Coronavirus Impact and 2021 Outlook
Read Report
JAN
2021
Racial Demographics and Population Shifts
Read Report
NOV
2020
U.S. Recovery, 2021 Outlook
Read Report
OCT
2020
U.S. Recovery, Houston Update
Read Report
SEP
2020
COVID-19 Impact on Economy
Read Report
AUG
2020
Energy Change Over Time
Read Report
JUL
2020
COVID-19 Update, Houston Unemployment
Read Report
JUN
2020
COVID-19 Update, Affected Sectors, Energy
Read Report
MAY
2020
U.S. & Texas Outlook, GDP
Read Report
APR
2020
COVID-19 Update, PMI, Industry Outlook
Read Report
MAR
2020
Economic Impact, Global Outlook, Recession Probability
Read Report
FEB
2020
U.S.-China Trade Deal, USMCA
Read Report
JAN
2020
Houston GDP, Energy, Jobs
Read Report
DEC
2019
Sector by Sector Forecast for 2020
Read Report
NOV
2019
Houston Region Demographic Update 2
Read Report
OCT
2019
Houston Region Demographic Update 1
Read Report
SEP
2019
Houston's Growth Engines
Read Report
AUG
2019
PMI, Commercial Real Estate & Housing
Read Report

More Insight & Analysis

Monthly Update: Employment

Review the latest data on jobs in the Houston region. 

Monthly Update: Purchasing Managers Index

Review the latest data on this key economic indicator. 

Monthly Update: Building Permits

Review the latest data on this key economic indicator. 

Get more in-depth analysis from the Partnership team with a Membership.