Houston has fastest growing economy in the US

February 22, 2013 4:25:16 PM PST
New government numbers put Houston on top as the fastest growing economy in the country. For many, this just confirmed what a lot of Houstonians already knew. So what's the driving factor that keeps Houston booming?

By the end of 2011, Houston was fully and officially out of the recession. That was reflected when the federal government released those numbers that showed that Houston grew faster than any other large city in the country.

For 50 years, Custom Rubber Products has made a home in Houston.

"It is a business environment here in Houston," said Tony Leal with Custom Rubber Products. "We've done well."

But in the last few years the energy services company has more than doubled its profits, from $20 million to $45 million a year.

"We're in manufacturing, which is growing," Leal said. "We're in the oil business which is constantly growing, and a big plus for us is that we're in Houston, Texas. And Houston is kind of the capital for that kind of work."

Custom Rubber Products isn't the only one who's noticed the growth. The newest federal numbers, released on Friday, show Houston had more economic growth in 2011 than any other large market in the country.

Of course it probably doesn't come as a surprise to a lot of people that Houston is at the top of another list when it comes to economics. But what is it that makes Houston so special? What does this city have that so many others around the country don't?

Patrick Jankowski crunches the numbers for the Greater Houston Partnership and with manufacturers like Custom Rubber Products, the oil and gas business and the fact that our exports have quadrupled over the last dozen years, Houston has truly tapped into a global economy, unlike so many US cities.

"Our core industries are extremely strong," Jankowski said. "So we're able to tap into larger markets than if we were just selling to the US markets. And that's an advantage for us."

He says the key is managed growth and staying hungry, which is where Custom Rubber Products finds itself -- growing slowly and anxious for the future.

"The future looks good," Leal said.

Among the top five metropolitan markets in 2011, there was one other Texas city on the list. Dallas came in at number two, with about a half a percent slower growth than the Houston region.

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