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Study Ranks Harris County Second In Incoming Investment But Is It Still True?

A new report confirms that Greater Houston has been a national leader in attracting millions of dollars in business investments. But the question is whether that flow of dollars has slowed.

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Personal finance company SmartAsset has ranked Harris County No. 2 in the country and No. 1 in Texas in incoming investments.

It joins four other Texas counties in the Top 10, including Fort Bend at No. 8.

The company's vice president of content, AJ Smith, said they wanted to know where development is happening and businesses are starting up.

"So we looked at the growth in the number of businesses in each area," she said. "We looked at the GDP growth in each area. We looked at new building permits – where were people investing in residential buildings? And we looked at municipal bond investment – where was the government choosing to make some improvements?"

They found that in Harris County the number of businesses grew by 6.1 percent from 2011 to 2014.

GDP – the total of all services and goods produced in the county – grew by $38.8 billion in the same time frame.

About 21 building permits were issued per thousand homes last year; and $2,255 in municipal bonds per capita were issued in the last five years.

Steven Craig, an economist at the University of Houston, said the study is really a look back.

"It shows that Houston has had a robust growth period and I think it shows that we're a good place to be an entrepreneur, so that we had OK entrepreneurial growth," he said. "But this index is probably more weighted to the past than the future."

Craig said there may be lots of construction happening here now, but only because projects are being finished.

In part because of low oil prices, he expects Harris County to slip out of the Top 10 in next year's ranking.

 

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