The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas published its monthly economic outlook for Houston. Highlights were;
- Houston employment grew 3.9% over the three months ending in September. Biggest gains were in Construction (8,700 jobs), Manufacturing (6,200) and education and health services (4,900). Last month’s figure was 3.8%.
- Year-over-year job growth increased to 3.9% in September (116,000). Last month the figures were 3.1% and 93,000 jobs. The September year-over-year figures are a little inflated as a result of some job losses post-Hurricane Harvey.
- Houston unemployment rate dropped to 4.1% in September. The Texas and US unemployment rates were 3.9% and 3.8% respectively. Two years ago, the Houston unemployment rate was 5.6%.
- Total new housing starts were up 7.2% year-over-year in the first half of 2018.
- Office vacancy rates (22.9%) dropped for the first time since 2014. The industrial vacancy rate rose a little to 5.1% but the market remains tight. Apartment vacancies rose to 6.5% (the rate was almost 8% just prior to Harvey).
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.