Tag Archives: Houston economic indicators

Houston job growth slows as manufacturing jobs lost

Houston jobs grew 3.1 percent annualized over the three months ending in July. Construction increased by 6,500 jobs, transportation, wholesaling and utilities by 6,700 jobs, and Leisure and hospitality by 4,900. However the area lost 1,000 manufacturing jobs and education and health jobs fell by 800.

This is according to the latest research from the Federal Reserve of Dallas which publishes data on the Houston-Sugarland-The Woodlands metropolitan area on a monthly basis.

In the year to July 2019, Houston added 76,400 new jobs, slightly higher than the comparable prior year (68,400 jobs). This included 5,600 manufacturing jobs year-on-year. However manufacturing jobs have dropped by 1,579 since March.

First quarter job growth was revised downwards by 15,000 (wonder if the 2nd quarter will also be revised down later?). Through July, that means that Houston employment has grown at an annual pace of 1.9 percent for 2019. That’s slightly below the historical annual growth rate of 2.1 per cent.

The unemployment rate in Houston rose from 3.6 percent in June to 3.8 percent in July. It’s now back above the US national average of 3.7 percent. The rate in Texas is 3.4 percent.

The Bank use 11 indicators to produce a composite Houston leading index. Compared with the quarter ended April 2019, the index has turned negative. All the index components have declined. However the biggest decline was in new orders for manufacturing which went from an annual 9.9 percent growth rate in the three months to April to a 1.3 percent contraction over the three months ending July.

As a result, the Bank expects more moderate growth for the local economy through the end of the year.




Houston unemployment rate drops to 4.1%

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.




Houston records strong employment growth in June

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has issued its June report for the Houston metropolitan area and the statistics were generally positive.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – Houston economic indicators

The Houston Business-Cycle Index expanded at an average rate of 3.2% so far in 2017, in line with its historical average and substantially better than the 1.8% decline throughout most of 2016. (The Business cycle index is a composite of leading and lagging indices which is used to forecast changes in the direction of the overall economy).

The Houston metro area has added 33,175 new jobs in the first 6 months of 2017 (2.2% annualized growth). The unemployment rate in June was 5.1%, below the YTD average of 5.4% and slightly below the June 2016 figure of 5.3%. Total job ads surged in June, suggesting healthy employment growth through September. The Feds noted that total job ads have been negative for 31 of the past 32 months.

The inventory of homes for sales rose from 3.6 months of supply in January to 4.1 months in June, while the median price of homes sold has been flat since peaking in February. This suggests the housing market is experiencing a modest cooling.

Construction, both commercial and multi-family are declining since peaking in 2015 and 2016 respectively. This is causing job losses for construction workers, particularly as the petrochemical construction boom is beginning to wind down.

Office vacancy rates were 21.4% in the second quarter, the highest since 1993. The apartment vacancy rate bottomed out in Q1 and was 7.8% in Q2.

Texas employment grew at a 2.8% annualized rate in the second quarter, higher than the national rate of 1.6%.