How Houston Dominated the Recession with Jobs and a Healthy Housing Market
As we noted last week, the list of the fastest growing cities in the United States is dominated by the Lone Star State. Between July 2011 and July 2012, more than 200,0000 people moved to Texas — the most of any state in America by nearly 150,000 people. Five major Texas cities (Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Ft. Worth) were among the 10 American cities with the largest numeric population increases, while five smaller Texas cities and suburbs (San Marcos, Midland, Cedar Park, Georgetown and Conroe) were among the 10 nationwide with the highest year-over-year growth rates. It was a pretty impressive showing for our beloved state.
Leading the way among Texas cities, behind only New York overall, was the not-always-glamorous, but perpetually-thriving Houston. The city’s growth prompted The Atlantic to take a look at what has been driving and sustaining its prosperity? One major cause and effect? They put it right in the (very flattering) headline: “Houston is Unstoppable: Why Texas’ Juggernaut is America’s No. 1 Job Creator.”
That’s right: jobs. Homeowners like having them, and Houston is offering tons of them. The city lost fewer jobs during the recession, which softened the effects of the downturn. And the city hasn’t stopped adding them since the recession ended.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March, Houston had recovered some 238 percent of the jobs lost during the recovery (in other words, it rebounded fully — and then kept on rebounding). By comparison, Dallas was second with a healthy 164 percent recovery rate. But only three other of America’s top 10 largest metro areas had topped 100 percent.
In the words of The Atlantic:
Texas is killing it. It dominated the recession, crushed the recovery, and in a new analysis of jobs recovered since the downturn, its largest city stands apart as the most powerful job engine in the country — by far.
So, how come? There’s the abundant land and famously favorable business climate (although let’s not dwell on the actual climate). With its proximity to oil and Mexico, Houston is blessed by topography and geography. But the secret sauce of the city’s success might be something else: history — and an ability to learn from past mistakes.
The entire article is worth a read. But the bottom line is clear: Houston (along with other Texas cities) is doing something sustainable and right. It may be known for traffic and humidity, but its reputation is increasingly changing to a place where it’s easy to work and easy to buy a home.