Houston Economic Update – July 2012
The Greater Houston Partnership has released its July Economic Update and the data reveals why the Houston Office Market has been among the strongest performers in the nation over the last few quarters. Colliers International will be releasing its Houston Office Market Report for the second quarter in the next few days and expect another strong performance from the Energy Capital of the world.
Weak Oil Prices Not Cause For Concern
The recent weakness in oil prices has yet to impact the local economy. The North America rig count remains above where it was this time last year. Employment in the oil and gas sector remains healthy. The Houston Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) has yet to show signs of slipping. And the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects a recovery in prices later this year.
Job Growth Potentially One of the Best Years On-Record
The Houston metro area added 88,000 net new jobs, a 3.4 percent annual increase, in the 12 months ending May ’12, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. Since May ’11, the private sector has grown by 94,200 jobs, a 4.3 percent increase over the year. If not for the continued losses in the government sector, the region would be growing at a rate of 100,000 or more jobs per year. Houston is the strongest of all the major metro economies in the U.S., and if job growth continues at the current pace, this may be one of the best years on record for the region.
Strong Growth in Office Using Employment
The three fastest growing sectors since May ’11 were employment services (8,700 jobs, 13.0 percent annual rate), oil and gas extraction (5,200 jobs, 11.1 percent annual rate), and ambulatory healthcare (13,800 jobs, 10.8 percent annual rate).