Report: Houston Economy Still In Decline But There Might Be Light At End Of Tunnel

Purchasing Managers Index shows economic activity in Houston contracts for the 20th straight month, but oil and gas is doing better.

The Houston PMI rose to 46.1 in August. It was 43.8 in July.
The Houston PMI rose to 46.1 in August. It was 43.8 in July.

The good news is industries related to oil and gas are doing better.

"The midstream businesses are looking better as well, and the durable goods manufacturing, which tracks oil and gas fairly closely, is looking quite a bit better," said Ross Harvison with the Institute for Supply Management, which publishes the Purchasing Managers Index once a month. "We're still seeing them very close to neutral but that's a lot better than they were 12 months ago."

The PMI measures economic activity in Houston. For August, it rose 2.3 points to 46.1.

Readings below 50 generally indicate contraction.

The index draws from eight indicators, including sales, purchases, production and employment in different sectors.

One of those sectors is healthcare, which Harvison said has long been strong but is showing some slowdowns.

"Still expanding, still looking good," he said. "But we're getting more reports within the medical space of flattening, less hiring and in some cases reductions within medical, which is something we haven't seen in a very long time."

But overall, Harvison said if the index rises again this month, it can be considered a trend of an improving economy in Houston.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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