Skip to main content

Data, Insight & Analysis

0
Recent Downloads

Monthly Update: Houston Metro Employment

December '23, Latest Data
Published on 1/19/24

The Partnership sends updates for the most important economic indicators each month. If you would like to opt-in to receive these updates, please click here.

Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute

Metro Houston created 3,600 jobs in December, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). That’s one of the weakest Decembers on record. In a non-recession year, the region typically adds 6,000 to 16,000 jobs during the month, with the average being around 9,300. 

December’s report underscores that economic growth in Houston has slowed considerably in recent months. Existing home sales, cargo traffic, sales tax collections, and manufacturing activity have all slipped from their post-pandemic highs. December’s jobs data nudged gains for ’23 to 70,100 jobs, well below what the region created in ’21 and ’22, which were record years for Houston.

For the past two decades, a rule of thumb held that when oil prices were stable and the U.S. economy was growing, the region should average 60,000 net new jobs per year.  However, Houston has grown significantly since then. The region’s gross domestic product now tops $633 billion and its population exceeds 7.3 million. The rule of thumb needs to be adjusted to roughly 70,000 jobs per year during the expansion phase of the U.S. business cycle. Houston’s employment gains for ’23 suggest the economy has returned to that normal, sustainable pace of growth.

Job gains for ’23 reflect the accuracy of the Partnership’s projections for the year. If the nation endured a mild recession, which last year many economists saw as inevitable, the forecast called for the region to create 60,800 jobs. If the nation avoided a recession, which the Partnership saw as a more likely scenario, the region would create 79,200 jobs. December’s jobs report split the difference, with Houston creating 70,100 jobs. 

A FINAL CAVEAT

The monthly jobs data reported by TWC are preliminary estimates based on surveys of employers that TWC conducts throughout the year.  As with any survey, the results are subject to sampling, non-response, structural, interpretation, and other errors. TWC is currently adjusting those estimates by comparing its survey data with unemployment insurance tax records that all employers must file. In March ’24, TWC will issue its annual benchmark revisions to the data. Only then will we know exactly how strong job growth was in ’23.

Prepared by Greater Houston Partnership Research

Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Chief Economist
Senior Vice President, Research
pjankowski@houston.org

Clara Richardson
Associate Analyst, Research
crichardson@houston.org

 

Employment Key Economic Indicators
3,600

Metro Houston added 3,600 jobs in December '23

More Insight & Analysis

Monthly Update: Inflation

Review the latest data on inflation in the Houston area. 

Monthly Update: Purchasing Managers Index

Review the latest data on this key economic indicator. 

Cost of Living Comparison

View data on the cost of living in Houston compared with other major U.S. metros. 

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

Share Data

Executive Partners