Business Forum Warns Of Outside Risks To Houston Economy

Comerica chief economist Robert Dye painted a picture of healthy job growth for the Houston area over the coming year — against an anemic backdrop for the U.S. as a whole.

“In terms of jobs, employment for the U.S., maybe 1% to 1.5% payroll growth over the next year or so, Houston being a growth leader in the range of 3% to 3.5%.”

Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership, warned about the potential effect on Houston of what’s often called the “fiscal cliff” — the expiration of Bush and Obama-era tax cuts, combined with across-the-board cuts to federal spending required by last year’s Budget Control Act.

“The federal government injects $24.4 billion into the Houston economy. I know this kind of simple, but if you just take 10% of that away, that’s $2.4 billion. That’s not a small amount.”

Unless Congress can agree on a fix, the one-two blow will land at the start of 2013.

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