Delta variant of COVID-19 could hamper job growth in Houston, economist says

HOUSTON, Texas – If the current rate of job creation in the United States continues, the country is expected to recover all the jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic by mid-2022, according to Patrick Jankowski, vice-president senior president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership.

The video above is taken from a previous story.

“If that happens, it would be one of the fastest recoveries we have ever had from a recession in the United States,” he said during his first in-person presentation since before the pandemic during a Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce meeting on August 17th. .

However, Jankowski said the delta variant could delay this recovery process, as the number of COVID-19 cases is even higher now than it was around the same time last year.

Harris County Public Health reported 27,622 active cases of COVID-19 on August 16, 2020 and 37,205 active cases on the same date a year later, for example.

“This is the real issue right now that could potentially derail the growth we are seeing both in the United States, globally and in Houston,” Jankowski said.

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

Most employment sectors affected by social distancing in the region, such as restaurants, retail and healthcare, have returned to pre-pandemic levels. But manufacturing, construction and energy account for nearly half of the region’s jobs that have yet to be recovered, Jankowski said.

“That’s why I’m worried that Houston won’t recover as quickly as the rest of the country, because we have these three industries weighing down on us,” he said.

Houston ranks 16th among the top 20 metropolitan areas in the United States in terms of progress toward economic recovery. Houston is behind cities like Denver, Dallas, Tampa, Detroit, Atlanta, Phoenix, Minneapolis and St. Louis. Miami, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco follow Houston on this list, Jankowski said.

As home sales are “through the roof” and vehicle sales have started to rise in recent months, Jankowski said the office real estate market will take much longer to recover and jobs will take a long time to recover. oil and gas companies in the region are unlikely to ever return to pre-pandemic levels. .

MORE: Rising Houston Home Prices Over Last Decade Revealed In New Report

“Employment in [the] the oil and gas industry is pretty much what it was in 2006, ”he said. “We have lost 15 years of job growth in oil and gas, which is why we have to find other industries, others to help the economy grow.”

SEE RELATED STORY: Texas Medical Center CEO Says Hospital Executives “Most Concerned” He Has Seen During Pandemic

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