A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

While the worst still appears to be behind us, resulting in possibly the mildest recession Houston has ever experienced, the bathtub-shaped recovery that Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership, outlined a year ago continues to hold true. Jankowski characterized it as a wide bottom followed by a quick recovery. And the wide bottom persists.
December 26, 2017
While Harvey remains a popular topic of conversation, the numbers surrounding the devastation from Harvey continue to be revised downward. The latest revised numbers from Moody Analytics bring the number down to $65 billion, much less than originally reported. Unlike storms from the past, which brought wind damage and prolonged power outages, Harvey was a rain event, primarily affecting residences. Most businesses were down only a handful of days, minimizing their losses.
November 08, 2017
Houston has been in the headlines a lot after Hurricane Harvey came through our region and dumped up to nearly 52 inches of rain in some places. While a few outliers wrote about Houston’s no zoning “Wild West” expansion, the majority focused on the resilience of our city, the get ‘er done mentality that had strangers helping strangers, and the compassion of our neighbors who dropped everything to lend a hand. As the water recedes, the damage has become clear, and it is, remarkably, much less than expected. This storm’s damage was mostly located in our homes.
October 03, 2017
In looking at the Texas Workforce Commission’s latest employment numbers, the Houston metro area lost 18,300 jobs – a seasonal amount – in July, with construction accounting for 5,000 of those losses, in large part due to the wind down in the industrial/petrochemical work on the east side of Houston.  This puts Houston’s construction employment down 4,800 jobs since the start of the year and negative year over year.  The slide shown here from Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors, shows Houston, overall, has had positive job growth in 2017, having added 6,900 jobs year to date.
September 11, 2017
While optimism surrounding the price of oil may be waning from the beginning of 2017, the Houston construction market continues to hum along at a surprisingly steady pace – down a bit, but not as bad as expected. City of Houston permits, while not reflective of the entire metro area, show a significant drop in dollar volume for residential permits. Digging deeper, the culprit is the additions/alterations segment, down 55% from a year ago, and likely due to the drop off in the multifamily sector.
August 15, 2017
On June 2, the Dallas branch of the Federal Reserve Bank released its latest economic update for the region. Texas, overall, is growing at a moderate pace and “boosted by the recent stability in oil prices, Houston employment expanded for a fifth consecutive month in May, registering the fastest year-to-date growth among the major metros,” as evidenced in the chart shown here.
July 14, 2017
Recent employment numbers show Houston MSA added a surprisingly strong 18,700 jobs in April. Maybe too strong, according to Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership.
June 14, 2017
The following article originally appeared in the May newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, now a part of FMI Corporation, for the purpose of providing the latest leading indicators and industry issues to those clients. Reprinted with permission . Two and a half years after the fateful Thanksgiving OPEC decision in 2014, our Houston construction market is starting to feel the full impact of oil’s decline. Increasingly, contractors are having to look to public work for the meatier projects as the private sector waits for energy prices to stabilize.
May 05, 2017
The latest benchmark revisions to the Houston MSA employment numbers show a significantly lower net gain of 200 jobs in 2015 and a more robust 18,700 in 2016, signaling that 2015 may have been slower than originally thought, but that momentum began to increase at a more rapid pace in 2016.For construction, which lags behind the overall Houston economy, public work continues to dominate.  The Texas Department of Transportation and Harris County Toll Road Authority have unveiled over $2 billion in freeway improvements over the next five years, with the hopes of dramatically improving mobility across the city.  
April 07, 2017
The following article originally appeared in the February newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, now a part of FMI Corporation, for the purpose of providing the latest leading indicators and industry issues to those clients.  Reprinted with permission.Houston managed to squeak through 2016 with a net job growth of 14,800 jobs. For what many economists have stated is the worst recession to hit Houston in decades, that is a major achievement for our region and a testament to the diversification of our city.Thanks to our ever-growing Port of Houston and Texas Medical Center, and the heavy industrial boom on the east side of town, Houston was buffered from a more severe downturn. However, companies were also quicker to act. Right-sizing and making the difficult decisions early. Breaking the bone to ensure it resets itself right the first time.  
February 10, 2017