Houston, other Texas metros have most economic momentum going into 2014

Dec. 30, 2013Houston Business Journal

Houston and fellow Texas metros have landed on another Forbes list based on their strong economies.

Houston ranked No. 4 on Forbes’ list of “The U.S. Regions to Watch in 2014.”According to the report, Houston had gross domestic product growth of 12.3 percent between 2007 and 2012, and population growth of 11.5 percent during that time. Between 2007 and October 2013, Houston saw job growth of 9.2 percent, though median household income is still down 4.7 percent from prerecession levels.

Austin — which recorded a whopping 21.7 percent for GDP growth — topped the list, followed by San Antonio at No. 2. Dallas took the No. 6 spot.

The list was compiled based on research from Praxis Strategy Group that looked at eight metrics for the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan statistical areas. Four of those metrics gauged economic vitality — GDP growth, job growth, real median household income growth and current unemployment — and four measured demographic strength — population growth, birth rate, domestic migration and the change in educational attainment.

Some of the common factors among the top 10 cities were a connection to the energy industry — Denver, Oklahoma City and Salt Lake City also made the list — a rising share of highly educated people and high rates of birth and family formation.

Houston hits all of these points. Forbes reports that a separate survey found Houston is one of the cities that have gained the most young college graduates since 2006, and the city is expected to add 140,000 new households by 2017 — the largest increase in the nation.