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Economist Explains Why Houston’s Boom is Not a Bubble

At this year’s annual fall conference hosted by Kiley Advisors, two strategic questions were explored, presented by two distinguished guest speakers.  The question “How long can this robust market last, and why?” was tackled by Adam W. Perdue, PhD in his presentation titled Is the Boom a Bubble?  Following that presentation and discussion, Brent Smith, PhD tackled the question “How can we do a better job of attracting, retaining, and developing talent as we compete with the expanding and better-paying energy and industrial companies?” in his presentation titled Managing Talent: Myths and Realities.

Pat Kiley began the morning with some opening remarks, and then his partner, Candace Hernandez, introduced the first keynote speaker of the day.  These may both be heard in the audio contained in the following 8-minute media file.



Dr. Adam Perdue, Economist at the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business, began his presentation Is the Boom a Bubble? by listing the main “pillars” of the booming Houston economy and what primarily drives them.  You may listen to the first part of his presentation in the following 10-minute media file, and view the slides he used by opening the attachment at the bottom of this blog post.



Dr. Perdue went on to discuss Houston’s growing population as related to residential unit growth, and how the current situation compares to conditions in the 1980’s.  He also talked about changes in the oil and gas industries such as horizontal drilling and fracking and what that and other factors have meant to the upstream, midstream, and downstream markets.  He discussed the many types of materials which are coming out of the recently discovered shale fields due to these new technologies.  The following 20-minute media file contains that portion of his presentation.



In the next section of his presentation, contained in the following 18-minute media file, Dr. Perdue shared what he projects will next happen in the upstream, midstream, and downstream markets, including what we should watch for in markets outside of the United States and environmental regulations within the United States.  He talked about transportation of the oil and gas products including railway and pipeline construction and routes.



Dr. Perdue continued his presentation with his predictions about the jobs which will be created due to growth – temporary construction jobs followed by permanent jobs in the industry.  He specifically discussed growth in the liquified natural gas (LNG) industry, saying that the long-term stability of these jobs will depend on the future price of LNG, condensate, and light petroleum, as well as ethylene and propylene which go into the manufacturing of plastics.

Finally Dr. Perdue looked at factors which affect the Houston area construction growth rate: population growth and employment growth.  He specifically looked at growth rate changes in residential, retail, light industrial, and office construction.  You may listen to these final remarks in the following  20-minute media file.



Following a short break, the group returned to hear Dr. Brent Smith, the other keynote speaker of the morning.  Look for my write-up about his presentation in an upcoming blog.


Adam W. Perdue, PhD is an economist at the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business. The Institute’s role is to provide essential, non-biased economic information to the Houston community. A native Houstonian, Adam is an urban and regional economist and he has extensive knowledge of the drivers of Houston and the future for the area.

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