Once wedded to oil, Houston economy carries on despite bust

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

HOUSTON (AP) — For generations, anyone who lived in Houston long enough was sure to feel the pain of an oil bust.

But 21st century Houston isn't like its oil-dependent predecessor. The city now has a more diversified economy, plus help from a wave of construction at its petrochemical plants. Even as the price of oil has plummeted, Houston has carried on. Its jobless rate of 4.7 percent in February was slightly better than the national average.

Patrick Jankowski is regional economist for the Greater Houston Partnership business group. He says the city will be fine "in the broadest sense," although individual companies will still suffer.

In the 1980s, the Houston economy was 84 percent dependent on oil and energy for its gross domestic product. That figure has dropped to about 44 percent.