Houston Economic Indicators – February 2013
The Houston Business-Cycle index rose nearly 4 percent in December, implying faster economic growth in the region according to the latest report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Energy-related activities, construction and international trade continue to propel growth. Regulatory uncertainty, the U.S. fiscal situation and stresses in the global economy cloud the horizon, but fundamentals in many area industries were firmer than in much of 2012.
Houston payroll employment grew 1.5 percent in December and 3.6 percent through 2012. Only 1997, 1998, 2005 and 2006 had greater annual growth rates the past 20 years. Construction, manufacturing, and professional and business services led employment growth in December. Commercial real estate markets continue to surpass expectations, with lease rates and occupancy flat to up in the fourth quarter across industrial, retail and office space.