Recovery Underway, But Not for the Public Sector
The Greater Houston Partnership released its February 2011 Economic Report and while the private sector continues to exhibit signs of recover the state, county and city are only now feeling the squeeze on their budgets from the recession. Historically, the public sector is always the last to enter a recession and the last to leave. The academic literature on the subject describes an 18- to 24-month lag between the onset of a recession and the onset of government revenue shortfalls. That scenario fits Houston. Employment began to slip in September 2008 and hit bottom in January 2010 and has trended up ever since.
Employment Gains for Houston
The 10-county Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area added 13,100 jobs, growing 0.5 percent, from December 2009 to December 2010, according to estimates by the Texas Workforce Commission. The private sector added 14,100 jobs (0.7 percent), while the public sector lost 1,000 jobs (-0.3 percent). December marked the fourth consecutive month of over-the-year increases, another sign that the Houston economy is recovering.
Houston’s December unemployment rate stood at 8.3 percent, a decrease from 8.6 percent in November. Texas’ unemployment rate stood at 8.0 percent, down from 8.3 percent in November.