Business

National Economy Keeping Houston Afloat

Houston’s economy is feeling the impact from a slumping oil market, but overall it’s doing fine. Part of that has to do with what’s going on nationwide.

Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership, chairs the NABE Business Conditions Survey.
Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership, chairs the NABE Business Conditions Survey.

Four times a year, the National Association of Business Economics surveys a cross section of American companies on their condition and outlook.

The current survey reflects results from the second quarter of 2016.

Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership, chairs the survey. He said it paints a mixed picture.

“Sales are tending to pick up but profit margins remain flat and that’s probably due to the fact that costs have gone up,” he said. “The panels have kind of ratcheted their overall expectations for growth. They were a little bit more bullish on growth in the U.S. economy, still positive for the U.S. but not quite as strongly positive as they were in the survey we did the quarter before.”

Jankowski said the fact that the national economic outlook remains positive is good news for Houston, whose strength depends on three factors.

“One is oil prices and we know what’s happened with them, they’re half of what they were two years ago,” he said. “The other is exports. Exports, on a dollar value, they’re down. As far as absolute weight in tonnage, we’re exporting the same amount as we’ve exported last year. We’re just getting less for it. And the other is the U.S. economy, because the U.S. consumes a lot of what we produce.”

Jankowski notes one interesting fact that came out of the survey is that businesses worry more about the potential for free trade restrictions than about rising oil prices or the outcome of the presidential election.

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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 and the Houston Press Club. Florian is a native of Germany. His studies...

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