In the 12 months ending this past October, the Houston metro area added 79,600 jobs. That’s quite a bit fewer than in 2012, when 105,700 jobs were created.
But Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research for the GHP, says that was to be expected.
“We couldn’t keep on growing at the same rate we’ve been growing the last two years. The infrastructure couldn’t keep up, we couldn’t keep up, the business cycle can’t keep up. You know, we’re going to continue to grow but we’re going to grow at a sustainable pace.”
He compares it to a marathon race where you start fast to get ahead of the pack and then level off and find your pace. Jankowski expects greater Houston to lock into a yearly job growth of 69,000 to 70,000 jobs.
Since the recession bottomed out in January 2010, the Houston area has seen 337,300 new jobs, two for every one lost in the recession.
Jankowski says after the recovery, employment in the region has returned to normal growth — although that may mean something different than before the recession.
“Because in the last decade we had some periods of really very high and very low growth. That’s why it’s kind of difficult to define ‘normal.’ If you go back to the ‘90s when we had steady growth, ‘normal’ was around 50-55,000. We’re getting ready to enter a period where ‘normal’ will be about 65-70,000. So it’s a new ‘normal.’ It’s a ‘normal’ at a higher rate but it’s also, we’re a bigger economy.”
There are also a lot more people here than there used to be. Jankowski says the region will add about 125,000 new residents a year.
“Population growth is a challenge but people need to understand even if no one ever moved here, we’re still going to grow. I mean, we add about 65,000 Houstonians every year just by babies being born. So 10 years from now, if no one moved here ever again, 10 years from now we’re still going to have 650,000 more people living here. You know, growth is a challenge. It’s something we as a community learned to manage and plan for, but we’ve always done well in the past, we’ll continue to do well, we’re addressing those issues.”
Job creation in 2014 is expected to come from every sector, with energy, construction and foreign trade driving the growth.