Houston, TX

Houston shows signs of economic recovery, according to report

Sophie-Ann McCulloch

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Following a year plagued by the pandemic and a global recession, Houston's role as a center for foreign trade and international business is likely to support the region's economic recovery in the months and years ahead. The assessment was based on an analysis released by the Greater Houston Partnership earlier in May.

The data shows a swift and significant shift once Covid-19 ravaged the city in March 2020. Tonnage at the Port of Houston declined by 12.8 million metric tons (6.6 percent) during the pandemic. In 2020, the Houston Airport System could handle only 3.9 million foreign travelers, down from 12 million in the previous year. Furthermore, a bad employment market, international travel restrictions, and anti-immigrant rhetoric impeded the flow of arrivals from abroad, causing the foreign migration count to fall to 24,587 inhabitants, the lowest level in more than 20 years.

Fortunately, the ongoing vaccinations in the United States and other industrialized countries have considerably reduced the number of new Covid-19 infections and severe diseases in those countries. While around 1.6 billion vaccines have been distributed globally as of mid-May, many poorer countries lacking the resources needed are trailing behind in vaccinations. Some have yet to provide a single dose.

Despite the challenges, the introduction of vaccines has triggered a global economic turnaround, which bodes well for Houston, according to the report. The Brookings Institution estimated in 2017 that exports alone contribute to 17.3 percent of Houston's GDP.

Partnership research estimates the region's direct and indirect employment related to exports to be around 470,000 jobs. Houston's fortunes are now as influential to the global economy as they are to the country's whole economy and energy.

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