Only surpassed by New York and Chicago, Houston is home to the headquarters of an impressive 24 Fortune 500 companies. As the energy sector is the local economy’s claim to fame, it is no surprise that most of these companies are indeed involved in oil, gas, and other such resources. Among them are world leaders such as ConocoPhillips, Halliburton, and Marathon Oil. Houston is also transforming into a very international city. With a large number of foreign missions, banks, and subsidiaries of foreign companies, the city has secured a rank on the A.T. Kearney Global Cities Index, surpassing expat hubs such as Taipei and Bangkok.
In many expat magnets around the globe, the local economy is based firmly on the services sector. People working in Houston will see that this is true by only a slight margin in this Texas metropolis, as the energy industry, i.e. the exploration and production of oil and gas, is a very, very close second. Nearly one-third of the nation’s oil and gas extraction jobs are based in Houston. Other industries related to the energy sector naturally profit from Houston’s leading position in this field as well, such as companies developing heavy machinery and those processing the byproducts of oil and gas mining. Most notably, Houston’s 15 billion USD petrochemicals industry is the biggest in the nation. Needless to say, Houston is dominant in most, if not all, facets of the energy sector, be it technology, research, or marketing.
For those intent on working in Houston’s maritime industries, the city’s port could be a potential employer, as it is the busiest port in the US in terms of international trade. Naturally, this is one the most important factors for Houston’s growth both as a hub for all things energy and the city’s leading position as one of the nation’s largest import centers.
The manufacturing sector accounts for nearly 100 billion USD, which is 18.3% of the region’s economy. More than 230,000 people work in Houston’s manufacturing industry, which makes it the city with the most manufacturing jobs in the whole country.
Several thousand companies in the manufacturing sector are working in Houston, producing a wide array of goods ranging from food and beverages to plastics and electronics. World-renowned corporations have important operations in the city, such as Hewlett Packard, whose largest production facility is in the Houston area. The steel industry is another mainstay that people who plan on working in Houston’s manufacturing sector could look to.
Houston is home to the Johnson Space Center, NASA’s largest research and development facility. With over 14,000 employees in the Houston region, the space center is the second-largest employer and contractor in the area, and it also attracts a lot of human capital in the form of highly-skilled specialists and professionals — not to mention the 1.5 billion USD in output.
Such a pivotal operation in the metro area is naturally an appealing incentive for other companies specializing in the aerospace sector, and many are indeed working in Houston. This is another main driving force in the local economy, which also makes working in Houston attractive for non-Houstonians and foreigners, as about 150 such companies call Houston their home.
While the energy, manufacturing, and aerospace industries certainly are its spearheads, a metropolitan economy the size of Houston’s obviously has many more options for expats and locals working in Houston. The city’s IT sector is an important hub for nanotechnology and biotechnology. Of course, the largest city in the Lone Star State is also one of the leading regional centers of finance, construction, and — thanks to the Texas Medical Center — healthcare. With such a diverse city economy, expats interested in working in Houston will most certainly find suitable job openings, no matter their field of expertise.
Houston is without a doubt the center of one of the most important metropolitan areas for the economy of the entire nation. We have compiled more information on the US economy in a separate article on the matter.
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