Houston Matters

Houston will add close to 60,000 jobs in 2024, expert predicts

Greater Houston Partnership’s Patrick Jankowski predicts Houston will add 57,600, specifically, in 2024.

Houston Skyline From the West
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Each year, the Greater Houston Partnership's Patrick Jankowski crunches the numbers to – often quite accurately – draw up a jobs outlook for the Houston area in the coming year.

Jankowski joined Houston Matters with Craig Cohen on Thursday to discuss how he predicts 2024 will look. He said the Houston area will continue to add jobs in the coming year, 57,600 specifically, though not as many as in the past three years.

"Maybe that's a little too specific, but we'll add roughly about 60,000 jobs next year," Jankowski said.

He wouldn't say he nailed the prediction for 2023, but he "got pretty darn close."

"Scenarios between 60,000 and 80,000 (jobs) is what I forecasted," Jankowski said. "It looks like we’re going to come in around 70,000-72,000. So, that’s pretty good if I say."

Jankowski said he also predicted that the nation would not have a recession.

"I was in the minority saying that, and here we are 12 months later, and I’m still waiting on the recession."

Jankowski still maintains that there won't be a recession in 2024 because the economy is too strong. But, he said, certain industries may have a recession.

"There may be recessions in construction, there might be recessions in real estate," he said. "But the overall economy, it's doing okay."

Much of the chatter about a potential recession was motivated, at least in part, by high inflation. Those inflation rates have dropped in the last year. Not as low as the Federal Reserve would prefer, but month-to-month price increases have slowed compared to the past couple of years.

Jankowski said he does predict inflation will continue to slow, but prices will not go down.

"And that’s what one of the issues is right now why people don’t feel healthy about the economy,” he said. “It’s because they remember what they paid for a loaf of bread three years ago. They remember that they weren’t paying $8.50 for a box of cereal."

Jankowski predicted the Federal Reserve would not lower interest rates and would hold them where they currently are.

"You know, the Fed has a dual mandate. One of the mandates is stable prices. The other mandate is full employment," he said. "Unless you see the unemployment rate go up significantly, the Fed doesn’t have a need to lower interest rates. You know, you might see the unemployment rate go up a little bit, but if it doesn't go up less than a full percentage point, the Fed's not going to feel the need to lower interest rates."

The unemployment rate remains low nationally. Yet, for many industries, there are seemingly more job openings than there are people searching for jobs. Jankowski said that will likely continue next year, which would also put pressure on the cost of things.

"When you have a labor shortage, the way you solve that is you bid up wages to try to draw people either off the sidelines or from another company," he said. "There are about 9.6 million job openings in the U.S. right now. Part of the pandemic, the average was about 6.4 (million). Unless we see more who are on the sidelines ... unless we resolve some of these issues, we're going to continue to have a very tight labor market."

Jankowski said Houston created 557,000 jobs in the last 42 months.

"That's more jobs than we normally create in a decade," he said. "Last year, we created 145,000 jobs. In 2021 we created 172,000 jobs. This year we’re on track to create around 70,000 jobs. So yeah, we’re definitely slowing."

Jankowski said it would be impossible to keep that pace going.

"Coming out of the pandemic when after we had shut down and everybody wanted to do something, we were (Olympic sprinter) Usain Bolt. We were out of the blocks going as fast as we can. We can’t maintain that pace forever. We have to find a pace that we can maintain.

"Now we’re more like the (Olympic) marathon runner, Eliud Kipchoge. And we’re trying to find a pace that we can maintain over time, and that’s what next year is going to be. We’re sitting there trying to figure out, do we need to speed up a little bit slow down a little bit? But we're trying to find a pace that's sustainable in the long run."

To see Jankowski’s full report, read below: