2018 is going to be the year Houston fully emerges from its economic downturn, and it appears to be doing so at full tilt. The Texas Workforce Commission’s most recent release of labor statistics posted Houston set an all-time record for April job growth, at 22,600 jobs, for a YTD net gain of 41,300 jobs. Unemployment dropped from 4.6% to 4.2%. This sets Houston’s employment at a record high of 3,097,500, an impressive comeback considering the energy industry shed 19,000 jobs and Houston suffered negative job growth in both 2015 and 2016.
These are not all Harvey related jobs either, because historically, hurricanes only affect the economy for about 6 months after the storm. This is Houston in full economic recovery, which is also evidenced by WTI Crude remaining at or above $60 bbl since the beginning of the year. This run is bringing confidence back into the energy sector which has added back 2,500 jobs in Houston so far this year.
This bodes well for northwest Houston for several reasons. One, if you were at the 2018 Economic Outlook Forum, you heard me say, “As goes Metro Houston, so goes Houston Northwest.” This rings true, as the Houston Northwest economy closely mirrors the metropolitan Houston economy. Two, northwest Houston area jobs are heavily weighted toward the energy sector in manufacturing, supply, and corporate office. Compound this recovery with the 1,700 jobs Exxon Mobil is bringing from Fort Worth to its campus at Springwoods Village this year, and I feel confident by the end of the year we will see positive economic impacts throughout many sectors of our local economy.