Houston Economy Trending Up, But Obstacles Remain

Nearly one year after the pandemic began, the Houston economy continues to recover, but there are still headwinds on the horizon. Texas was among the states with the largest decline in new jobless claims last week, and Houston's most recent numbers continue to show job growth. "We have recouped more than 200,000 jobs that were lost during the pandemic, but that still leaves us around 130,000 short," says Patrick Jankowski, Senior Vice President of Research for the Greater Houston Partnership.

Job growth in recent months has been strong across multiple sectors in Houston, but the Biden administration's new restrictions on energy could pose a threat to one of our biggest job engines. "We've gotten all the easy jobs back, now the next set of jobs will be harder to get---especially with what we see going on in some of our primary industries like oil and gas," says Jankowski.

"The oil and gas industry is facing enough challenges as it is, without having the challenges the Biden administration is throwing in front of it," he continues.

Ultimately, the outlook for the Houston economy in 2021 is positive, but the timing is still uncertain. "People want to travel, people want to go to restaurants, people want to socialize again, but right now everyone is holding back because they're afraid of catching the virus," says Jankowski. "When that pent-up demand reaches a tipping point, you are going to see a surge in economic activity...the question is will that tipping point happen at the end of the second quarter or at the end of the third quarter."

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