What’s in Store for ’16? — This year has been a challenging one for Houston. Oil prices continued the slide begun in ’14, briefly slipping below $40 a barrel in August. More than half the U.S. drilling rig fleet has been mothballed and now operates at its lowest level since May ’02. The energy industry continues to lay off workers. And the recent construction boom appears to be winding down. The question now on everyone’s mind: Is Houston headed for a recession? The answer is forthcoming. On December 7, the Partnership will host the Houston Region Economic Outlook for ’16 and address the issues of oil prices, job growth, and the economic prospects in the coming year. The event begins with a panel discussion among experts from the local energy, health care, professional services, and construction industries who will share their insights into the future of the economy.
Kristi Chickering, CEO, Sirius Solutions
Michael Covert, President and CEO, CHI St. Luke’s Health
Daniel M. Gilbane, Regional Manager, Gilbane Building Company
Greg P. Hill, President and COO, World Wide E&P, Hess Corporation
Chickering is the panel’s expert on business and professional services. The sector accounts for one in every six private sector jobs in the region. Sirius serves clients across a wide range of industries, including construction, energy, financial services, health care, manufacturing, utilities, retail and transportation.
Covert is the panel’s health care expert. While other sectors struggle, health care continues to add jobs―11,400 since December. CHI St. Luke’s Health operates six hospitals, seven emergency centers and clinics, and six medical groups in Houston.
Gilbane is the panel’s construction expert. The city has permitted $6 billion in residential and commercial projects so far this year, and while that amount is substantial, it reflects a 12 percent drop from the same time last year. Gilbane’s high-profile Houston projects include work for ExxonMobil, Hess, El Paso, Rice University and the Houston Zoo.
Hill is the panel’s energy expert. The industry continues to struggle with low oil prices, shrinking exploration budgets, and weak demand growth. Hess Corporation is a leading global independent energy company engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas.
Lisa Shumate, General Manager, Houston Public Media (KUHT TV 8, News 88.7 and Classic 91.7) will moderate the panel discussion, which begins at 10 a.m. Those attending the morning session will receive a copy of Houston Economic Highlights, 60 pages of insights into local economic and demographic trends over the past 10 years. A copy of the Highlights publication distributed at last year’s event can be found here. The luncheon portion of the event convenes at noon. Patrick Jankowski, the Partnership’s Senior Vice President of Research, will present the Partnership’s employment forecast for ’16. (Click here to see the Partnership’s forecast for ’15.) Anthony Chan, Chief Economist, JPMorgan Chase, will be the luncheon keynote speaker. Chan will present the U.S. and global outlooks following the regional outlook. Full-program tickets include the panel discussion, the Partnership’s forecast, the luncheon, the keynote speech, a copy of the forecast and Houston Economic Highlights. Luncheon tickets include only the Partnership’s forecast and the keynote address.