While COVID-19 cases are alarmingly surging in Texas, here in Houston, businesses are slowly returning to a new normal (for now). So, just how well is the Bayou City recovering economically from the pandemic, compared to other big-city counterparts around the United States and in Texas?
So-so, according to a revealing new report.
A new list, published July 29 by financial advice website SmartAsset, ranks the U.S. cities with the strongest economic recoveries from the pandemic.
SmartAsset looked at five data points for 49 of the largest U.S. cities to determine the economic winners:
- Percentage change in consumer spending
- Percentage change in small businesses that are open
- Percentage change in small business revenue
- Percentage change in job postings
- March 2021 unemployment rate
Houston performed slightly better than the studywide average in three of the metrics, (although some of the numbers still look pretty bleak). The Houston stats are:
1. Change in consumer spending (January 2020-April 2021)
- Houston: 11.7 percent
- Studywide average: 7.3 percent
2. Change in small businesses open (January 2020-April 2021)
- Houston: -34.5 percent
- Studywide average: -32.51 percent
3. Change in small business revenue (January 2020-April 2021)
- Houston: -36.6 percent
- Studywide average: -30.9 percent
4. March 2021 unemployment rate
- Houston: 10.6 percent
- Studywide average: 6.6 percent
Elsewhere in Texas, The SmartAsset ranking puts Dallas at No. 19, and Fort Worth, at No. 11. Among the most populous cities in the SmartAsset study, Dallas ranks highest. Austin lands at No. 23 for pandemic economic recovery, with San Antonio at No. 38.
Only one other Texas city, El Paso, appears in the top 20 (No. 8). Salt Lake City, Utah tops the list.
University of Houston's Bauer College of Business recently analyzed Houston's pandemic recovery. In its report, the Bauer study notes a bigger bounce-back in the U.S. than Houston — and that oil and gas downturns selectively hurt Houston more than the rest of Texas.
In some good news, the Bauer study reports the biggest sectors that have the biggest recoveries: healthcare, retail, and food service.