2015 Will See Job Losses; Recovery Won't Be Till 2017
Houston will likely end 2015 with 9,200 job losses, according to Greater Houston Partnership VP Patrick Jankowski. (Patrick keynoted Transwestern's Trendlines event Thursday; we snapped him with Transwestern CEO Larry Heard.) We're coming off five years of unprecedented growth, in which Houston added $110B to our economy. (Austin's whole economy is $115B.) We created 490,000 jobs in that time, or one job every five minutes for the last five years. This year will be negative, and Patrick predicts that won't let up for another 12 to 18 months at least. (Even when oil prices pick up, there will be a lag before hiring resumes.)
Manufacturing is suffering the most so far, with 14,500 jobs lost since December. Despite that, Patrick predicts industrial vacancy will remain below 6%. On the other hand, office vacancy could reach 20%, and he thinks multifamily occupancy will dip below 90% next year. Don't just write off 2016, though, he says—we'll still see population growth, we haven't broadly overbuilt, and this will not be a repeat of the '80s, or even '09.