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The 2018 Jobs Outlook for Houston

The 2018 Jobs Outlook for Houston

Whether you’re a candidate looking for a new job in Houston or a growing business in need of a recruitment agency, it’s important that your vision for the future is grounded in the realities facing your industry and the economy. Here we’ve gathered the most recent expectations for employment and hiring in Houston through 2018:

Record Low Unemployment for Texas

Texas unemployment dropped to its lowest rate in four decades when it dipped from 3.9 percent in October, 2017 to 3.8 percent in November, 2017. This was the seventh consecutive month the jobless rate declined. The Texas unemployment rate outperformed the national rate, which was at 4.1 percent over the same two months.1

Texas saw 2.7 percent year-over-year job growth between November 2016 and November 2017, gaining 330,600 jobs. Among the industries showing the strongest growth in November 2017 were professional and business services, with 14,700 jobs added over the month, and construction, which added 8,200 jobs.2

The Dallas Fed projects the statewide economy will grow by 3 percent in 2018, compared with 2.5 percent in 2017. Job growth is supposed to accelerate as well, from 306,000 jobs added in 2017 to a projected 366,000 positions added in 2018.3

Moving Beyond Harvey and the Oil Bust

Unemployment in Houston dropped from 5.2 percent in November, 2016 to 4.3 percent in November, 2017.4

With its massive energy sector, Houston was hard hit by the oil bust that began in 2014 and resulted in the loss of 77,000 energy jobs. Then, after showing signs of rebounding in 2017, the city was devastated by Hurricane Harvey. But Houston’s economy is showing signs of strengthening again heading into 2018. According to an analysis by the University of Houston’s Institute for Regional Forecasting, the city is projected to add more than 70,000 jobs in the coming year.5

Drilling rigs were ramping up production through 2017 and weren’t significantly thrown offline by Hurricane Harvey. Crude oil prices are also increasing, which encourages adding drilling rigs and boosts the energy service companies across the region. The US Department of Energy is projecting record crude oil demand in 2018, at an average of 9.3 million barrels per day, which is an increase of 30,000 barrels per day over 2017.6

XTO Energy, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobile, is relocating its headquarters from Fort Worth, Texas to the Houston area. The company will move 1,200 employees to Exxon’s campus in Springwoods Village north of Houston this summer. Another 400 will relocate to the headquarters in 2020.7

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has created a task force to study how to establish the city as a tech and innovation hub. The task force has recommended artificial intelligence, medical devices, cyber security, and robotics as promising industries because of the city’s existing science and technology infrastructure. H-Town is home to the University of Houston, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and the largest hospital complex in the world—the Texas Medical Center.8

Need assistance with your hiring in Houston? Contact Hudson.


1 "Texas Jobless Rate for November Improves to 3.8 Percent." The Associated Press. Houston Chronicle. Web. 22 Dec 2017.
2 Ibid
3 Eaton, Collin. "Oil, Manufacturing Will Energize Texas Economy in 2018, Dallas Fed Says." The Houston Chronicle. Web. 9 Jan 2018.
4 Ibid
5 Eaton, Collin. "Houston Could Add 70,000 Jobs Next Year, Forecast Says." The Houston Chronicle. Web. 6 Nov 2017.
6 Ibid
7 Pulsinelli, Olivia. "Exxon's XTO Energy to Move 1,600 Employees to Houston." Houston Business Journal. Web. 19 June 2017.
8 Ortiz, Al. "Houston Wants to Diversify its Economy by Becoming Hub for Innovation and Technology." Houston Public Media. Web. 3 July 2017.
9 Garrett, Arnessa. "Guess Who's at the Top of WSJ's List of Best Places for Amazon HQ2? Hint: Big Things Happen Here." Dallas News. Web. 14 Nov 2017.

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