The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas published its monthly economic outlook for Houston. Highlights were;
- Houston employment grew 3.8% over the three months ending in August. Biggest gains were in Construction (13,600 jobs) and education and health services (5,600). Last month’s figure was 2.7%.
- Year-over-year job growth increased to 3.1% in August (93,000). Last month the figure was 2.7%.
- Houston unemployment rate dropped to 4.2% in August. The Texas and US unemployment rates were both 3.9%.
- The outstanding value of loans at banks headquartered in Houston grew at 11.6% from the 2nd quarter of 2017 to the 2nd quarter of 2018. This is slightly lower than the 1st quarter figure of 13.6% but well ahead of the US lending growth of 4.3%.
The Feds conclude that the overall outlook remains positive. Houston’s economy continues to grow at a healthy pace despite signs of a slowdown in its core energy-related sectors.
Separately, JLL reported that the total office vacancy rate for Houston declined for the first time since Q4 2014. The vacancy rate dropped from 24.5% in Q2 to 24.2% in Q3, primarily due to new leasing activity in west Houston.