On March 2, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order fully reopening the state’s businesses and facilities, becoming one of the first states in the US to do so. More than six months later, however, Texas is still lagging behind the rest of the country in the post-pandemic recovery. What’s going on?
Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership, a chamber of commerce serving the Houston region, explains:
“The service side of Houston’s economy—professional services, finance, health care, recreation, retail, restaurants, bars—are approaching full recovery. However, the goods producing sectors—energy, manufacturing, construction—continue to struggle. Their woes pre-date the pandemic.
“Houston has suffered from an overbuilt office market since the mid-00s. The capital markets have been closed to the energy sector since 2018, making it more difficult to drill wells. And manufacturing in Houston is closely tied to energy and followed the same path.”