Skip to main content

Report Gives Houston High Marks for Economic Growth, Startup Potential

Published Aug 12, 2019 by A.J. Mistretta

A new ranking from Business Facilities magazine places Houston at No. 4 for economic growth potential among large metro areas and ranks the city No. 4 as well when it comes to the nation’s best startup ecosystems.

Houston’s broad industry diversity is a positive for the city’s economic growth potential. The Greater Houston Partnership forecasts the region will see a net increase of 71,000 jobs this year. The most recent employment report for the region showed a 2.7% increase in jobs between June 2018 and June 2019 led by growth in professional, scientific and technical services; durable goods manufacturing; and restaurants and bars. 

The Partnership’s Senior Vice President of Economic Development Susan Davenport told InnovationMap that the city’s status as the one of the top locations for Fortune 1000 headquarters in the U.S. elevates Houston’s position as a hub where both large and small companies can prosper.

"The region's steady population increases, coupled with our relatively low costs of living and doing business, bode well for our economic growth potential reflected in this ranking," Davenport told the publication.

Houston’s No. 4 ranking among startup-friendly cities is due in large part to the concerted effort of local organizations, led by Houston Exponential, to help foster the local startup ecosystem. Launched in late 2017, Houston Exponential’s goals include making Houston a top 10 innovation ecosystem, generating $2 billion in venture capital annually, and creating 10,000 new tech jobs a year by 2022.

"Factor in the demand being satisfied by a number of new incubators and accelerators, plus the four-mile Innovation Corridor running through the heart of the city and anchored by The Ion, and we're seeing momentum on a scale like never before," Davenport told InnovationMap. 

Here is Business Facilities' 2019 list of the top 10 places for economic growth potential among large U.S. metros:

  1. Atlanta
  2. San Antonio
  3. Phoenix
  4. Houston
  5. Orlando, Florida
  6. Austin
  7. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  8. Las Vegas
  9. Albuquerque, New Mexico
  10. Kansas City, Missouri

Here is Business Facilities' 2019 list of the 10 places with the best startup ecosystems in the country:

  1. Austin
  2. Denver
  3. New York City
  4. Houston
  5. San Jose, California
  6. Orlando, Florida
  7. Nashville, Tennessee
  8. Atlanta
  9. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  10. Salt Lake City

Click here for more Houston rankings. 

Related News

Economy

METRO Working to Return Services, Protect Riders and Employees

5/20/20
METRO is working to relaunch some of its transit services that were temporarily halted during the coronavirus shutdown. But the agency says doing so safely, in a manner that protects both its employees and riders, is paramount.  METRO Chair Carrin Patman provided an update on the transit agency’s operations on May 20 as part of the Partnership’s COVID-19 Business Forum series.  Patman said METRO ridership is down about 60% from its normal operations, though she expects that will grow as more companies recall employees to the workplace. The agency has begun adding buses on its most traveled routes, including those servicing the Texas Medical Center, and restarted some of its park-and-ride services.  METRO has taken several steps to alleviate pressure on riders while maintaining social distancing and sanitation protocols in its vehicles and facilities. The agency has discontinued fares for the time being, both to help riders who may be struggling financially and as a safety protocol. Patman said high-touch areas such as handles and poles on rail cars and buses, as well as bus shelters and rail platforms, are being cleaned at regular intervals throughout the day. The agency has instituted rear boarding on its buses and designated empty seats with signage to maintain social distancing. It’s also providing riders and employees with face masks and taking employees’ temperature when they arrive for work.  Patman said Houston area employers can help the agency’s safety efforts by providing their employees with cloth masks for use in transit and throughout the day. She’s also encouraging local companies to consider staggered work schedules to help ease congestion on buses and rail.  Ridership among essential employees was consistent even at the height of local stay-home orders, underlining the critical nature of public transit, Patman said. “We are an important part of the community and we need transit to keep our economy going,” she said. “While we don’t quite know when the curve will be flattened enough to get back to normal, our main priority right now is to bring service back so everyone who needs to can get to work.”  Patman said the pandemic is delaying the agency’s METRONext initiative, funded by a bond measure approved by voters last year. But she said the projects included in the plan will move forward as time and funding permit.  Learn more about what METRO is doing to protect its riders and employees in this letter from Chair Patman and the corresponding fact sheet.   
Read More
Building Activity

Commercial Real Estate Impact - Office Space Trends and Implications Post-COVID-19

5/20/20
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on every aspect of our lives. As businesses across Houston begin the phased approach to reopening, it is important to note the implications the current environment will have on the region's commercial office space.   Jon Lee, Executive Vice President of Advisory & Transaction Services with CBRE, spoke on the pandemic’s impact on Houston’s commercial real estate market. Below are key takeaways from his presentation: Legal Implications Uncertainties When it comes to returning to the workplace, safety is everyone’s primary concern. From an employer's standpoint, the responsibility companies have to their employees and customers adds additional liability concerns.  It is important that plans are made now to prepare for reopening the workplace. Individual companies will determine their reopen timeline based on the comfort level with their plan and an assessment of risk tolerance. “This is going to be widely varied,” said Lee. “We are hearing companies starting to bring folks back [into the office] on June 1 and other companies no earlier than early 2021.”  Lease Restructuring When the pandemic first surfaced, the conversations with landlords and tenants were largely focused on whether there were stipulations in a lease that would protect the tenant during this situation. Unfortunately, there simply is not a lot within traditional office lease agreements that would protect tenants from a government-mandated stay at home order or the fallout from a pandemic.  “The provisions that one might naturally assume would help protect the tenant [casualties, interruption of services] really stem from the idea that the office is inaccessible, or something prevents the entity from occupying the space,” said Lee. This is something that he sees changing as a result of the current situation. Companies should discuss individual circumstances with their landlord and see if they would be willing to work with them on rent abatement, rent deferment or lease restructuring.  Future of Office Space Configuration The future of what an office space looks like will certainly change. Most notable, particularly in the near term, will be the need to adopt physical distancing guidelines, which includes defining both the required distance between individuals as well as adjusting maximum occupancy rates. This could happen in several ways including: Spacing—physically separating workstations Shifting—Alternating shift schedules for employees is the easiest way to accomplish physical distancing without the need for an extensive office redesign, which can often be capital intensive. Assigned Seating—the trend around unassigned “open” seating will cease, at least in the short term. Conference Rooms and Collaboration Areas—these will largely be closed or reconfigured.  Cost Implications or Redesigning Office—with the capital-intensive nature of fully redesigning an office, companies will embrace other means or appropriately social distancing in the office.   Mobility Moving Forward There is a huge variance in sentiment about employees permanently, or even partially, working from home. “I don’t think office space is going away,” Lee said. “There is a small percentage of job functions who could permanently work from home.” CBRE is encouraging their clients to consider what would be the optimal way for their specific company in that given industry to function.  Building System Changes Across the board, we will see significant systems changes happening at the building level, and not just inside the physical tenant space. This will include: Heightened interest in air filtration systems to decrease the risk of these airborne bacteria and viruses to affect tenants and their employees, including the use of new technology.   Increase in janitorial services, with common and personal areas being regularly cleaned.  Common areas and casual seating will likely be temporarily removed. The most disruptive shift will be in increased elevator protocols. In most cases, the average capacity will be 3-4 people. Many companies will also implement and elevator queue system. There will also be a shift to touchless entry, as well as limiting the exit and re-entry to reduce burden on these protocols.  Role of Technology The use of technology in an office setting has increased due to the current situation, and we will continue to see this trend increase in the future. While these technologies are effective, a growing concern with executives is the important role physical interaction can have when it comes to attracting/retaining talent and building a corporate culture.  Trends in Work Activity Performance With a vast majority of individuals across the country working remotely, there has been an increased interest from employers to measure employee sentiment. “There is no surprise that coaching, mentoring, managing and collaborating with others is easier in person,” said Lee. But on the flip side, creative thinking, as well as managing distractions and interruptions, is easier at home.  While the office market will not go away, employers will likely offer a range of additional options to their employees. A trend discussed recently in the national media involves employers embracing the idea of satellite offices in suburban locations. “This kind of suburban migration could be a trend we see moving forward,” said Lee.   Return to Work John and his team at CBRE see the re-entry to the office as a three-phase approach: Rethink: Planning and actions to consider now in preparation for return to work.  Reopen: Getting back in this “pre-vaccine” reopen phase will be the most disruptive. Significant steps will need to be taken by companies to create a safe and productive environment for their employees.  Reoccupy: There will be great lessons learned from the previous phase.  A safe return to the office for most companies will largely center around effective space and occupancy planning. This includes determining new occupancy plans and layouts, addressing social distancing with furniture and path-of-travel policies, planning for the moving and storage of furniture, and effectively communicating new sanitation, food and beverage and cleanliness policies.        Lastly, it will be important to do a thorough assessment of environmental systems including air quality, plumbing and electrical. While this will largely be led at the building level, individual tenants will need to be involved in determining that those systems are in line with what they expect.    Click here for additional COVID-19 resources for small businesses. Visit the Partnership's COVID-19 Resource page for updates, guidance for employers and more information. And sign up for email alerts from the Partnership as the situation develops.   
Read More

Related Events

Executive Partners