CURRENT MARKET CONDITIONS
Overall, Houston continues to be recognized as one of the strongest metros in the U.S. for business activity, with the employment sector reporting marked improvement from this time last year. When compared to the 12 largest metropolitan areas in the nation, Houston-SugarLand-Baytown’s rate of job growth surpassed all others and was the only rate above 3.0 percent. The area's above-average population growth spurring the need for increased services is also a positive contributing factor in Houston's strong long-term outlook.
Trade, transportation, and utilities – the area’s largest supersector – added 18,700 jobs over the year. Employment gains in this supersector were broad-based, although employment in department stores registered a 12-month decline. Houston’s trade, transportation, and utilities employment expanded 3.6 percent from September 2011, well above the national increase of 1.3 percent.
The education and health services supersector added 15,900 jobs, an increase of 4.9 percent since the previous September. Growth was particularly strong in the health care component as the ambulatory health care industry added 10,000 jobs. Education and health services in the Houston area has posted over-the-year employment gains on a monthly basis since February 1991. Nationally, this sector recorded a 2.0-percent increase from September 2011 to September 2012.
Houston’s construction sector registered its sixth consecutive month of over-the-year job gains, up 12,300 from September 2011. Employment growth in building construction (5,700) and heavy and civil engineering construction (4,600) accounted for the largest part of the sector’s gain. Construction employment increased 7.0 percent locally, while employment edged up just 0.1 percent nationally.