Huge Honor for Houston
Houston called America's No. 1 job creator and a juggernaut by national magazine
We've heard the stories again and again about how Texas has dodged the recession and beat out other major cities in terms of job gains. But why did Houston in particular fare so well in one of the most crushing financial eras to-date?
Derek Thompson, senior editor at The Atlantic, takes a closer look at the Bayou City's successes in a magazine article titled "Houston Is Unstoppable: Why Texas' Juggernaut is America's #1 Job Creator." It's oil and gas, yes, as well as the city's business-friendly policies and a favorable topography and geography.
During the worst years of the Great Recession "more than 100 foreign-owned companies relocated, expanded or started new businesses in Houston."
But the real clincher is Houston's reliance on history — a quality especially surprising given our inherent "tear it down" attitude — and the energy and real estate sectors' willingness to learn from past mistakes, according to Patrick Jankowski, an economist and vice president of research with the Greater Houston Partnership.
As Thompson notes, the city's energy demographic skews "remarkably old" with an average age of 50 plus, so "companies were nervous about laying off too many veteran workers before they had time to pass their skills down to the younger generation." Instead of losing one in seven jobs (which the Houston economy suffered during the recession of the 1980s), the region lost only one in 22 jobs this time around.
Houston developers ignored waning demand in the '80s, but the city avoided the housing bubble altogether in the mid-aughts and beyond "by tightening lending and home construction in the early years of the crisis."
As Jankowski notes, it didn't hurt that, during the worst years of the Great Recession — between 2008 and 2010 — "more than 100 foreign-owned companies relocated, expanded or started new businesses in Houston."
How's that for hometown glory?