Economic Update from Greater Houston Partnership

Looking Back — Economic data for ’15 continue to trickle in. Oil prices, the rig count and drilling permits finished the year well below where they started. Home sales continued at a brisk pace until the early fall, then began to trail off. Construction followed a similar path. By October, the metro area managed to generate modest job growth. And the region set an annual record for vehicle sales. Given the challenges the region faced all year, ’15 turned out better than many expected.

This issue of Glance focuses on how seven economic measures—employment, energy, manufacturing, commercial real estate, home sales, construction and consumer prices— fared in ’15. The details follow. Tepid Job Growth — The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land Metro Area1 created 23,200 jobs in ’15, a 0.8 percent increase, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. That’s in line with the Partnership’s July forecast of 20,000 to 30,000 jobs by year’s end.

Job growth fell well below the pace of recent years: Houston added 491,500 the previous five years. Given the flood of layoff announcements throughout the year, weaker job growth was to be expected. The Partnership anticipates the metro area will create approximately 21,900 jobs in ’16. 2


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