The hottest city in America? A national magazine falls in love with Houston'ssteamy economics
I've heard the iconic Forbes building on New York's Fifth Avenue was just sold. Based on the magazine's listicle love for Texas, I can't help but wonder if the company is planning a move south.
The July 16 issue of Forbes includes a feature about Houston's booming economic powerhouse. (It includes a partial title of "Houston Gets Hot" that could only be funny to a writer sitting in an air-conditioned office in Manhattan. Seriously, Kurt Badenhausen, it is very hot here right now. Don't push us.)
Badenhausen's piece is in some ways a compilation of all the Forbes economic lists that Houston has topped in recent months, pointing out our dozen resident billionaires, as well as the benefits of having the world's largest medical center, one of the country's busiest ports and the technological prestige of a NASA headquarters.
Though there are multiple examples of energy companies bringing headquarters and jobs to Houston, Badenhausen also points out that the city's economy is more diverse than ever.
Oil and gas drive the Houston economy and are responsible for 50% of the jobs related to the export of goods and services outside the area. But that’s gone way down over the past 30 years. Energy represented 87% in the early 1980s. That diversification helped Houston emerge from the recent recession faster than any other large U.S. city. Houston’s employment dropped 16 straight months from its peak in August 2008. Yet the carnage was much worse in other major metros like Riverside, Calif. (48 straight down months), Phoenix (38), Los Angeles (36) and Minneapolis (36). Houston and Washington, D.C. are the only major metros to have recovered all the jobs they lost in the recession."
Despite Houston's economy growing at an impressive 8.5 percent this year (on top of 8.6 percent growth in 2011), Forbes has the city at No. 20 in its annual ranking of The Best Places for Business and Careers. That's well below other Texas cities like Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth and San Antonio, despite having a higher projected annual growth rate than any of the cities in the top five spots.