Specific industries tied to the leisure and hospitality sector are likely to experience job gains in the year ahead, according to a new report from the Greater Houston Partnership.
The Partnership’s annual employment forecast projects Houston metro employment growth of more than 57,000 jobs in 2024, with the healthcare and government sectors leading the gains. That pace of growth is slower than the region has experienced in recent years post-pandemic, but still healthy, according to the Partnership’s Chief Economist Patrick Jankowski.
“The Houston region has been running at a sprint ever since emerging from the pandemic,” Jankowski said. “So, while growth will slow down next year, Houston’s economy remains resilient.”
With roughly 283,000 workers, the food services and drinking establishments sector is the third largest employer in the region. Heavily tied to population growth, the industry consistently delivers net employment gains each year. Houston averages 350 new eating/drinking places annually and all signs indicate 2024 will deliver the same. Despite economic concerns among consumers, the Partnership’s forecast calls for a net gain of 7,200 jobs in the industry next year, the third largest increase among major sectors.
The hotel industry along with food and beverage services make up the hospitality side of the leisure and hospitality sector. At 26,800 workers, the sector is not one of the largest employers in the region. However, the Partnership points out that the hotel industry generates significant revenue for major tourism products and venues through hotel occupancy taxes. Thanks to increases in leisure travel and a resurgence in conventions and business travel, the Partnership expects modest growth of 1,000 jobs in the year ahead.
The arts, entertainment, and recreation sector, which represents the leisure side of leisure and hospitality, includes such organizations as museums, golf courses, theaters, and attractions. The sector currently employs approximately t 42,000 workers, or about 1.2% of the metro workforce. The Partnership forecasts modest growth in this sector of 1,100 jobs in 2024 based on an expanding consumer base and increased interest in experiences over merchandise.
See the full employment forecast from the Partnership.