American employers are still looking for a few good men and women, as the national labor shortage shows little sign of improvement. The most recent federal data estimates 11 million job openings remain nationwide. In Houston, it's a similar story. "The biggest threat to Houston's recovery is not the (coronavirus), it's the lack of workers," says Patrick Jankowski, Senior VP of Research for the Greater Houston Partnership. "We could be hiring a lot more workers, if they were available."
Despite the labor crunch, Houston's overall economy is still doing fairly well. "In all sectors except for energy, manufacturing and construction, Houston is doing better than the rest of the nation," says Jankowski. "But it's those sectors which are weighing us down, and preventing us from getting fully recovered."
Jankowski tells KTRH that if not for the labor shortage, Houston's job market could be setting records. "Through the first ten months of the year, we've actually created 104,000 jobs (in Houston), which would rank as the fifth best year on record...and we still don't have job data for the last two months," he says. "So 2021 may turn out to be one of the best years on record for job growth."
The only missing piece of the puzzle is the workforce. "There's probably not a business in Houston that wouldn't like to hire a few more workers, because the demand for products and services is so strong," says Jankowski. "So, it's definitely going to be a jobhunter's market next year."