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Greater Houston Partnership: State of Houston’s Global Economy

May 22, 2017

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Global Houston

1) Houston has made the list on the following impressive global city rankings:

fDi Magazine placed Houston third as an “American City of the Future.”
Brookings Institution classified Houston as one of the world’s 19 knowledge capitals.
Forbes identified Houston as the world’s 14th-most influential city.
Global Trade ranked Houston first among U.S. cities for global trade.

2) The following four criteria seem to best define a global business center, along with how Houston measures up on those criteria:

(a) Trade: The importance of exports to a city’s economy.

Houston has led the U.S. in exports four years in a row, according to the ITA.

(b) Investments: The amount of foreign investment in a region.

Brookings estimates foreign-owned firms supported more than 178,000 Houston jobs in 2011 (most recent data), ranking Houston fourth among U.S. metros.

(c) Connections: Connections to the rest of the world.

Nearly 5,000 Houston-area firms are engaged in global commerce, triple the number three decades ago.

(d) Global Dominance: Dominance in at least one aspect of the global economy.

The Houston metro remains the “Energy Capital of the World”.

3) Key Takeaways

Houston is connected to the world through its business relations, transportation network, and foreign-born population.
Metro Houston leads the nation in exports with approximately 250 million metric tons in trade passing through the region each year.
International firms employ more than 250,000 Houstonians.
More than 90 foreign firms own nearly 350 properties in Houston displaying continued interest of overseas investors.
Despite Houston’ recent struggles, trade continues to grow, foreign investors continue to add capital into the city, the region’s international population continue to expand, and Houston holds its place as headquarters of the global energy industry.
Houston is truly a global city.

Renu Khator, Chancellor, University of Houston System, President, University of Houston
Jean-Francois Poupeau, Executive Vice President Corporate Development and Communication, Schlumberger Limited
Manolo Sanchez, Chairman, BBVA Compass


Bob Harvey, President and CEO, Greater Houston Partnership


Patrick Jankowski, Senior Vice President, Research and Regional Economist, Greater Houston Partnership


Stuart P.M. Mackintosh, Executive Director, Group of Thirty

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