Houston Economic Update – March 2012
Houston began the year with more than 2.6 million payroll jobs, the highest employment level in its history. Traffic through the Houston-Galveston Customs District is at an all-time high. Home sales and home construction have started to pick up. Oil sells above the once-magical $100 a barrel mark. The rig count is near its highest point in 20 years. And the Eagle Ford Shale should keep Houston’s energy companies busy for a decade or more. No one is talking about Houston being on the cusp of another boom, but there are no signs that Houston’s current prosperity will end any time soon.
A Record Year for Foreign Trade — Trade through the Houston-Galveston Customs District totaled $268.0 billion last year, a 26.8 percent increase from $211.5 billion in ’10. This set a new record for Houston, the previous being in ’08, when trade exceeded $240.9 billion. Houston was the third busiest customs district in ’11, ranking behind New York and Los Angeles and ahead of Detroit.
Site Selection Magazine has named Houston the number one metro in the nation for corporate relocations and expansions. This is the second time in three years the Houston metro area has taken the top spot. Houston logged in 195 new and expanded facilities last year to garner the honor. The Chicago-Naperville- Joliet metro followed at number two with 167 projects. Pittsburgh, with 141 projects, rounded out the top three in major metros.