Houston economist: Delta variant could hinder region's job growth

Houston is on the road to economic recovery, according to local experts. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Houston is on the road to economic recovery, according to local experts. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

Houston is on the road to economic recovery, according to local experts. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

If the current rate of U.S. job creation continues, the nation should recover all jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic by mid-2022, according to Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership.

“If that happens, this would be one of the quickest recoveries we’ve ever had for a U.S. recession,” he said during his first in-person presentation since before the pandemic at a Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce meeting Aug. 17.

However, Jankowski said the delta variant could delay that recovery process as COVID-19 case counts are even higher now than they were at this time last year.

Harris County Public Health reported 27,622 active COVID-19 cases on Aug. 16, 2020, and 37,205 active cases on the same date one year later, for instance.

“That’s the real issue right now that could potentially derail the growth that we’re seeing both in the U.S., globally and in Houston,” Jankowski said.

Overall, the Greater Houston area has recovered about 59% of jobs lost during the pandemic.

Most job sectors affected by social distancing in the region—such as restaurants, retail and health care—have recovered to prepandemic levels. But manufacturing, construction and energy make up almost half of the region’s jobs that have not yet been recouped, Jankowski said.

“That’s why I’m concerned that Houston will not recover as fast as the rest of the nation because we have those three industries weighing us down,” he said.

Houston ranks No. 16 of the top 20 U.S. metropolitan areas when it comes to progress toward economic recovery. Houston is behind cities including Denver, Dallas, Tampa, Detroit, Atlanta, Phoenix, Minneapolis and St. Louis. Miami, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco follow Houston on that list, Jankowski said.

While home sales are “through the roof” and vehicle sales have started to pick up in recent months, Jankowski said the office real estate market will take much longer to recover, and oil and gas jobs in the region will likely never return to prepandemic levels.

“Employment in [the] oil and gas industry right now is pretty much where it was in 2006,” he said. “We lost 15 years’ worth of job growth in oil and gas, so that’s why we need to find other industries, other things out there that will help the economy grow.”
By Danica Lloyd

Editor, Cy-Fair

Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2016. As editor, she continues to cover local government, education, health care, real estate, development, business and transportation in Cy-Fair. Her experience prior to CI includes studying at the Washington Journalism Center and interning at a startup incubator in D.C., serving as editor-in-chief of Union University's student magazine and online newspaper, reporting for The Jackson Sun and freelancing for other publications in Arkansas and Tennessee.


METRONext is the agency’s $3.5 billion bond approved by voters in November 2019, which aims to ease traffic congestion, add expansion to the METRO, and make accessibility and safety upgrades.
(Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
METRO Board approves $1.3 billion budget, discusses METRONext projects

The METRO board of directors met Sept. 21 to give an overview of the drafted budget as well as to receive public comments. It was unanimously approved at the Sept. 23 board meeting.

Left to right: The Senator IPA, Speak Sam Rayburn Pecan Porter and Smoke Show Roasted Jalapeno Blonde are among the most popular brews at Senate Avenue Brewing Co. (Emily Jaroszewski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Senate Avenue Brewing Co. to celebrate first anniversary in Jersey Village

Andrew and Michelle Mitcham opened Senate Avenue Brewing Co. last October in Jersey Village.

The Texas Secretary of State's office has launched an audit of 2020 election results in four of Texas’ largest counties: Harris, Dallas, Tarrant and Collin. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Texas Secretary of State's office announces audit of 2020 election results in Dallas, Collin, Tarrant and Harris counties

In a statement released Sept. 23, the office said it anticipates the state Legislature will fund the process.

Kyle City Council voted 6-1 and approved the new citywide trail master plan that will utilize 2020 bond election funds for trails that will help connect Austin to San Antonio. (Courtesy Pexels)
CI Nation roundup: Perfect Game coming to Cedar Park; Kyle City Council approves trail master plan to connect Austin to San Antonio and more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Sept. 24.

Big League Dreams will reopen in December with updated turf, seating, nets, fencing, graphics and other upgrades. (Courtesy city of League City)
Big League Dreams to reopen in League City; New Caney ISD officials address student possession of a gun, and more top stories from Greater Houston

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Greater Houston area.

The new clinic opened in the Fairfield area in late August. (Courtesy Houston Methodist)
Houston Methodist Primary Care Group opens new Cypress clinic

Board-certified family medicine physician Dr. Rashad Ramkissoon will serve patients at the new clinic.

Comcast will award $1 million to small businesses owned by people of color in Fort Bend and Harris counties (Courtesy Fotolia)
Comcast Rise Investment Fund to award small business grants in Harris, Fort Bend counties

Comcast will award $1 million to small businesses owned by people of color in Fort Bend and Harris counties.

Several parents of New Caney ISD students spoke at the district's Sept. 20 board meetings about recent allegations that a student brought a firearm to Porter High School's Sept. 18 homecoming dance. NCISD Superintendent Matt Calvert stressed that no gunshots were fired at the event, and that the district is investigating the allegations. (Wesley Gardner/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI Nation roundup: Round Rock ISD trustees considered for censuring; New Caney ISD addresses allegations of student with gun at campus event and more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Sept. 23.

Amy Wine Counseling opened in 2016. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Amy Wine Counseling Center celebrates fifth anniversary in Cy-Fair

The local counseling center serves children, teens, adults, couples and families.

La Viva Cantina is now open. (Courtesy La Viva Cantina)
Tex-Mex eatery La Viva Cantina now open in Cypress

La Viva Cantina opened this month at Fairfield Town Center.

Houston resident Marissa Hanson spoke on keeping tax rates low during the Harris County Commissioners Court public hearing on Sept. 21. (Emily Lincke/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County Commissioners propose tax cuts at cost of Harris Health System funding

On average, Harris County homeowners may see lower tax rates in the next year, but it will come at the cost of $17 million in funding for the county’s hospital district, according to Harris County Administrator David Berry.

The Factory Salon is opening soon in Fairfield. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
The Factory Salon to open new location this fall in Fairfield

Services include haircuts, blowouts, coloring and balayage, perms, conditioning treatments, facial waxing, and makeup and eyelash applications from Aveda-trained stylists.