BBVA Compass had forecast the gross domestic product would grow by only 2.3% this year — in part due to the prospect of another showdown over the federal budget. Shushanik Papanyan, a senior economist with the bank, says that threat has receded.
“We’re looking actually at [a] 2.5% growth rate for 2014. This is in the process of revision, but we’re highly confident about that number.”
Fiscal uncertainty has been a headwind for Houston businesses. The city is facing the prospect of slower employment growth in the year ahead, but Papanyan says there’s little cause for concern.
“The growth rate of Houston is going to converge with [the] Texas growth rate and slowly converge into [the] U.S. growth rate.”
Papanyan says Houston benefits from having a fairly balanced economy, rather than one that is wholly dependent on the energy sector. Houston-area job creation is now at or above pre-recession levels for most sectors — government being the biggest exception.