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Houston Ranks Fourth In Jobs Supported By Foreign Direct Investment

Business tied to energy account for much of the growth in FDI.



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Foreign direct investment in the Houston area is on the rise. That’s the finding of a new report from the Brookings Institution. It’s the first comprehensive study of how such investment is affecting individual U.S. metropolitan areas.

The report finds that between 1991 and 2011, the number of Houston jobs at foreign-owned businesses nearly doubled, from about 92,000 to 178,000. That lifted Houston to fourth place among all U.S. metro areas in overall jobs supported by FDI, behind New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

The main Houston industries attracting such investment were energy and energy services, engineering, and chemicals.

“At the core of Houston’s energy cluster are major investments from European oil majors, such as BP, Shell, Total, and I think also from Brazil’s Petrobras and Saudi Arabia’s Aramco,” says Devashree Saha, co-author of the report.

The study finds that foreign direct investment tends to raise a metro area’s wage levels, boost its international trade, and lift its productivity.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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