Energy & Environment

Houston’s Economy Will See ‘Moderate’ Growth Without An Oil Rebound

“It looks like a pretty dismal outcome, but it’s hardly the end of the world,” the IRF’s director said

Crude oil storage tanks along Beltway 8 in the Houston area. The city’s economy, though diverse, is still closely tied to oil and gas activity.

A new economic forecast indicates Houston’s economy is growing, but not as fast as it usually does.

Unless oil drilling ramps up, the city will continue to see only “moderate” growth. That’s according to Bill Gilmer, head of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston.

In his latest forecast, Gilmer said that unless there is a big uptick in the oil sector, the city will likely only see about 40,000 new jobs over the next year.

“Even without oil and gas, we have still sub-par, on Houston standards, growth and growth in employment,” he said, noting that 60,000 new jobs is an average year for the city.

Still, Houston has fared the oil downturn pretty well. Gilmer’s forecast points to 97,000 jobs in other sectors like restaurants, retail and education since oil prices dropped in 2013. Cities like Pittsburgh or Detroit, Gilmer said, would be happy to see those numbers.

“It looks like a pretty dismal outcome, but it’s hardly the end of the world,” he said.

“Even if oil and gas don’t come back for a couple of years, we’re still seeing slow to moderate growth here in Houston.”


Travis Bubenik

Energy/Environment Reporter & Afternoon News Anchor

Travis Bubenik reports on the tangled intersections of energy and the environment in Houston and across Texas. A Houston native and proud Longhorn, he returned to the Bayou City after serving as the Morning Edition Host & Reporter for Marfa Public Radio in Far West Texas. Bubenik was previously the...

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