50 million small business owners in America respond in a survey saying it will take more than a year to recover from the financial impact of the SAR-Co-V 2 pandemic. Some areas were harder hit than other, Houston among them. “We got hit a little bit harder than Texas, and a little bit harder than the country, for sure,” says University of St. Thomas finance professor Dr. Daniel Perez. It was the double whammy of the collapse of oil prices brought on by Russia and OPEC in the beginning of 2020 followed immediately by the pandemic. “We’ve already gained one third of the jobs that we’ve lost and it will probably take another year to get those jobs back as well.”
As of February 2021, the most recent date for which we have numbers, the Greater Houston Partnership reports Houston recouped 128,400 of the 361,100 jobs that were lost during the pandemic, just above 35%. A reasonable comparison with growth can’t be equated with national figures because of the impact of the February Freeze and widespread water and power outages in Texas. In March 42% of small business owners said they have job openings that they haven’t been able to fill yet. If Houston job growth moving forward is on par with national trends, we are still not projected to reach pre-pandemic levels of employment in the next year.
Full recovery in Houston is expected to take two to three years, according to GHP.
Houston energy sector, apart from the price of oil, has been hard hit by the virus and the freeze. Schlumberger reported Friday that Q1 profits are off by 15% year over year, revenue off 30%. The energy sector lost more than 102,000 jobs nationally, 39,000 of those in the Lone Star State. Oil field service companies are optimistic about where things are heading as demand increases. Halliburton and Baker Hughes have reported optimistic outlooks.
Roughly 2,000 Houston restaurants have been shuttered as a result of the pandemic.
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