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Houston Glance Dec08

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2009 Houston Forecast

2009 Houston Forecast


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  • 1. A publication of the Greater Houston Partnership Volume 17, Number 12 • December 2008 How Much Job Shrinkage in ’09? — There are so many wild cards in the ’09 deck that forecasting is reduced to a guessing game. The world’s developed econo- mies are largely in recession; the markets are undergoing huge swings on an almost daily basis; the value of mountains of assets is beyond determining; commodity prices have gone through a dizzying plunge; consumer confidence nationwide is barely above its record low in October; and Treasury and the Fed are creating poli- cy on the fly in the hopes of finding something — anything — to prop up the fi- nancial system. So dire is the situation that a meeting of world leaders produces a statement of “confidence” (without specifics) that the crisis can be brought to an end by mid-’10. Everyone, it seems, has written off ’09. Even with so much of the economic environment in flux, people need to make de- cisions. Forecasts — however clouded — help provide perspective. The primary purpose of a forecast, after all, isn’t to “nail” the numbers (although forecasters are invariably pleased when they do), but rather to sensitize data users to the forces shaping the forecast and, by implication, how changes in those drivers might affect outcomes. For many years, three exogenous factors have been dominant in shaping the course of Houston’s economy — the health of the national economy, the price of oil and the value of the dollar against other major currencies. As we look ahead to ’09, all three are impeding job growth in Houston. Real Gross Domestic Product growth turned negative in Q3/08, and many observers expect it to remain negative at least through the first half of ’09. The price of oil has plunged more than 60 percent since July, and is now so low that exploration budgets for ’09 are being trimmed. And the dollar has risen sharply since midsummer, inhibiting Houston’s exports of goods and services. On the basis of these fundamentals alone, Houston would be likely to lose jobs in ’09. Overlay these with continuing stresses on the credit markets — stresses that have played a part in constricting GDP and ravaging commodity prices — and job losses here appear inevitable. The question is one of magnitude, not direction. In the relatively shallow recession that began locally in ’02 and continued into ear- ly ’04, Houston’s largest 12-month job loss was 1.0 percent. That recession was December 2008 ©2008, Greater Houston Partnership Page 1
  • 2. HOUSTON—THE ECONOMY AT A GLANCE concentrated on telecommunications, a field in which Houston has little exposure. The current recession, in contrast, features a credit crunch that cuts across a broad range of industries, placing Houston much more at risk. It’s difficult to imagine that Houston could avoid larger job losses this time. Even so, Houston is likely to perform substantially better than the national economy. The Partnership’s forecast (or best guess) is that the 10-county Houston metropoli- tan area will sustain a net loss of 45,700 jobs, or 1.7 percent, from December ’08 to December ’09. Like most forecasts that avoid the unthinkable, this one assumes that credit markets thaw sufficiently to support normal business activity sometime before mid-year. Job losses are spread broadly across industries. (See following table.) The only major sectors expected to show net job growth are educational services, which typically expands in times of recession; health care and social assistance, where job growth is driven more by population growth and aging than by economic conditions; and government, where public education dominates job growth and temporary federal hiring in preparation for the 2010 census plays a small role. What of the other sectors? Natural resources and mining, which in Houston is almost entirely oil and gas, will be under severe strain in ’09. In the wake of this year’s plummeting oil and gas prices, it’s likely that the Baker Hughes count of active domestic rotary rigs will end ’08 around 1,800 and drop another 400 to 600 in ’09. While the industry will shed jobs nationwide, it will make every effort to retain the experienced knowledge workers who are concentrated in Houston’s R&D and corporate man- agement centers. Memories of how difficult it was to find qualified staff to expand after the mid-’80s recession remain fresh. Expect job losses here to be numbered in hundreds, not in thousands. Construction, in contrast, seems likely to shrink by nearly 9,000 jobs, or more than 4 percent. Even if the credit markets become more liquid, stricter lending standards than were in place until summer ’07 should continue to constrain demand, possibly pushing ’09 single-family starts down to 24,000 or less. Similarly, tight credit for commercial projects means that some proposed projects will be cancelled or post- poned, and the high price of funding in the bond markets will compel deferral of some public works projects. A federal stimulus package that includes massive funding for infrastructure could help to counter this expected decline. Manufacturing loses more than 7,000 jobs, or roughly 3 percent, in this forecast. Much of the shrinkage is a continuation of the long-term decline in nondurables manufacturing. About a fifth is attributable to reduced demand for oilfield equip- ment as the rig count falls. December 2008 ©2008, Greater Houston Partnership Page 2
  • 3. HOUSTON—THE ECONOMY AT A GLANCE With the developed world largely in recession, wholesale trade should see modest contraction — some 2,700 jobs, or less than 2 percent. Retail trade is expected to sustain the largest nominal job loss of any sector — 9,600 — as tight credit, rising unemployment and limited consumer confidence combine to stifle demand. Motor vehicle dealers, especially vulnerable to these pressures, account for a dispropor- tionately large share of the decline in retail jobs. Transportation, warehousing and utilities is expected to shed some 5,400 jobs, or roughly 4 percent. Airline reductions in routes and pressures to contain costs are a key contributor, as is reduced trade in consumer goods. The woes of the financial system, including consolidation of financial institutions, underlie the anticipated loss of 4,500 jobs — not quite 5 percent — in finance and insurance. Real estate markets are likely to struggle throughout ’09. Problems in the single- family housing market will persist at least into ’10, when the last of the adjustable rate mortgages issued under lax creditworthiness requirements in ’07 reset. Com- mercial real estate demand, especially for retail space, appears problematic going into ’09. This forecast sees real estate and rental and leasing shedding some 3,000 jobs, or roughly 6 percent. Professional and business services should fare better than the overall Houston economy, off just 0.5 percent — fewer than 1,000 jobs — as modest gains in legal services, accounting and bookkeeping services, and computer systems design part- ly offset small declines in other industries. Arts, entertainment and recreation is essentially static in this forecast, not quite matching its performance in the milder recession earlier in this decade. Accommo- dation and food services, on the other hand, loses 8,700 jobs, or a bit more than 4 percent. Industry analysts see ’09 as a very rough year for the hospitality industry in Houston — an “off” year for convention business combined with cutbacks in business and personal travel. Other services — a diverse category that encompasses such businesses as personal services, dry cleaners, dating services, grantmaking, machinery repair, photofinish- ing and parking services — is expected to sustain a modest loss of less than 1,000 jobs. Putting Things in Perspective — Throughout ’08, Houston has been among the very best performing major metropolitan areas — frequently #1 in job growth. With severely constrained credit affecting most industries and the key drivers of the Houston economy turned negative, it would be unreasonable to think that Houston might avoid the impact of this recession altogether. Even should this forecast happen to match the reality of ’09, however, Houston could still be among December 2008 ©2008, Greater Houston Partnership Page 3
  • 4. HOUSTON—THE ECONOMY AT A GLANCE the best performing regions on the national stage. And, barring a massive financial collapse, Houston in ’09 should bear scant resemblance to Houston in the mid- ’80s, when one in every seven jobs was lost over the span of less than five years. 2009 NONFARM PAYROLL EMPLOYMENT FORECAST HOUSTON-SUGAR LAND-BAYTOWN MSA Employment (000) Change During Year (000) Pct Change During Year 12/07 12/08 12/09 '07 '08 '09 '07 '08 '09 Total Nonfarm Payroll Jobs 2608.8 2643.5 2597.8 90.2 34.7 -45.7 3.6 1.3 -1.7 Total Private 2251.8 2276.3 2226.7 86.2 24.5 -49.6 4.0 1.1 -2.2 Goods Producing 523.8 532.9 516.4 22.7 9.1 -16.5 4.5 1.7 -3.1 Services Providing 2085.0 2110.6 2081.4 67.5 25.6 -29.2 3.3 1.2 -1.4 Natural Resources & Mining 87.3 93.9 93.6 4.6 6.6 -0.3 5.6 7.6 -0.3 Construction 199.8 202.9 194.1 10.9 3.1 -8.8 5.8 1.6 -4.4 Manufacturing 236.7 236.0 228.7 7.2 -0.7 -7.3 3.1 -0.3 -3.1 Wholesale Trade 136.8 139.1 136.4 5.2 2.3 -2.7 4.0 1.7 -1.9 Retail Trade 276.7 276.5 266.9 11.1 -0.2 -9.6 4.2 -0.1 -3.5 Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities 128.0 128.0 122.7 2.4 0.0 -5.4 1.9 0.0 -4.2 Information 37.2 36.3 34.8 0.6 -0.9 -1.5 1.6 -2.5 -4.1 Finance & Insurance 93.5 93.5 89.0 1.8 0.0 -4.5 2.0 0.0 -4.8 Real Estate & Rental and Leasing 53.0 53.2 49.9 2.2 0.2 -3.2 4.3 0.3 -6.1 Professional & Business Services 390.0 396.2 392.9 19.9 6.2 -3.4 5.4 1.6 -0.8 Educational Services 43.2 43.8 45.8 1.1 0.6 2.0 2.6 1.4 4.5 Health Care & Social Assistance 246.1 252.8 257.4 12.1 6.7 4.6 5.2 2.7 1.8 Arts, Entertainment & Recreation 25.0 24.1 24.1 -0.4 -0.9 -0.1 -1.6 -3.4 -0.3 Accommodation & Food Services 204.0 204.5 195.8 8.2 0.5 -8.7 4.2 0.2 -4.2 Other Services 94.5 95.4 94.6 -0.7 0.9 -0.8 -0.7 1.0 -0.8 Government 357.0 367.2 371.1 4.0 10.2 3.9 1.1 2.8 1.1 Sources: Estimates 12/06-10/08, Texas Workforce Commission; forecasts 11/08-12/09, Greater Houston Partnership ____________________________________ The Greater Houston Partnership is the primary advocate of Houston’s business community and is dedicated to building regional economic prosperity. Visit the Greater Houston Partnership on the World Wide Web at www.houston.org. Contact us by phone at 713-844-3600. December 2008 ©2008, Greater Houston Partnership Page 4
  • 5. HOUSTON—THE ECONOMY AT A GLANCE Houston Economic Indicators YEAR-TO-DATE A Service of the Greater Houston Partnership MONTHLY DATA TOTAL OR AVERAGE* Most Year % Most Year % Month Recent Earlier Change Recent Earlier Change ENERGY U.S. Active Rotary Rigs Nov '08 1,935 1,798 7.6 1,887 * 1,764 * 7.0 Spot Crude Oil Price ($/bbl, West Texas Intermediate) Oct '08 74.94 86.31 -13.2 109.52 * 68.35 * 60.2 Spot Natural Gas ($/MMBtu, Henry Hub) Oct '08 6.58 6.65 -1.0 9.30 * 6.89 * 35.0 UTILITIES AND PRODUCTION Houston Purchasing Managers Index Oct '08 51.7 61.9 -16.5 55.7 * 60.2 * -7.4 Nonresidential Electric Current Sales (Mwh, CNP Service Area) Oct '08 2,868,825 4,700,936 -39.0 42,262,429 43,494,744 -2.8 CONSTRUCTION Total Building Contracts ($, Houston MSA) Oct '08 828,319,000 1,099,305,000 -24.7 11,461,797,000 12,574,105,000 -8.8 Nonresidential Oct '08 427,853,000 383,682,000 11.5 5,581,157,000 4,528,695,000 23.2 Residential Oct '08 400,466,000 715,623,000 -44.0 5,880,640,000 8,045,410,000 -26.9 Building Permits ($, City of Houston) Oct '08 635,780,499 537,511,966 18.3 5,199,239,865 4,677,400,693 11.2 New Nonresidential Oct '08 316,726,643 164,825,931 92.2 2,116,207,064 1,563,921,725 35.3 Nonresidential Additions/Alterations/Conversions Oct '08 210,399,141 138,587,059 51.8 1,612,016,416 1,256,743,633 28.3 New Residential Oct '08 61,193,262 214,593,656 -71.5 1,234,615,403 1,717,111,029 -28.1 Residential Additions/Alterations/Conversions Oct '08 47,461,453 19,505,320 143.3 236,400,982 139,624,306 69.3 Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Activity Closings Oct '08 4,962 6,327 -21.6 60,079 71,750 -16.3 Median Sales Price - SF Detached Oct '08 142,000 146,000 -2.7 152,842 * 151,702 * 0.8 Active Listings Oct '08 49,016 53,407 -8.2 52,025 * 50,593 * 2.8 EMPLOYMENT (Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown MSA) Nonfarm Payroll Employment Oct '08 2,634,900 2,582,600 2.0 2,605,200 * 2,539,100 * 2.6 Goods Producing (Natural Resources/Mining/Const/Mfg) Oct '08 531,800 520,100 2.2 527,900 * 512,000 * 3.1 Service Providing Oct '08 2,103,100 2,062,500 2.0 2,077,300 * 2,027,100 * 2.5 Unemployment Rate (%) - Not Seasonally Adjusted Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown MSA Oct '08 5.4 4.0 4.6 * 4.3 * Texas Oct '08 5.4 4.0 4.7 * 4.3 * U.S. Oct '08 6.1 4.4 5.6 * 4.6 * Unemployment Insurance Claims (Gulf Coast WDA) Initial Claims Oct '08 37,664 13,066 188.3 20,584 * 12,359 * 66.6 Continuing Claims Oct '08 110,414 68,156 62.0 76,275 * 65,230 * 16.9 TRANSPORTATION Port of Houston Authority Shipments (Short Tons) Oct '08 3,930,785 3,480,563 12.9 35,985,405 33,810,409 6.4 Air Passengers (Houston Airport System) Oct '08 3,967,900 4,257,352 -6.8 42,630,752 43,281,027 -1.5 Domestic Passengers Oct '08 3,424,316 3,714,089 -7.8 35,905,828 36,798,337 -2.4 International Passengers Oct '08 543,584 543,263 0.1 6,724,924 6,482,690 3.7 Landings and Takeoffs Oct '08 78,158 86,948 -10.1 790,093 829,226 -4.7 Air Freight (000 lb) Oct '08 76,425 75,879 0.7 707,408 720,740 -1.8 Enplaned Oct '08 38,843 38,980 -0.4 369,953 374,954 -1.3 Deplaned Oct '08 37,582 36,899 1.9 337,455 345,786 -2.4 CONSUMERS New Car and Truck Sales (Units, Houston MSA) Oct '08 23,101 27,944 -17.3 269,402 308,260 -12.6 Cars Oct '08 10,082 10,888 -7.4 123,952 128,965 -3.9 Trucks, SUVs and Commercials Oct '08 13,019 17,056 -23.7 145,450 179,295 -18.9 Total Retail Sales ($000,000, Houston MSA, NAICS Basis) 1Q08 19,246 17,778 8.3 19,246 17,778 8.3 Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers ('82-'84=100) Houston-Galveston-Brazoria CMSA Oct '08 191.14 184.922 3.4 190.517 * 183.424 * 3.9 United States Oct '08 216.573 208.936 3.7 216.098 * 206.790 * 4.5 Hotel Performance (Harris County) Occupancy (%) Sep '08 68.5 63.8 67.9 * 67.3 * Average Room Rate ($) Sep '08 135.78 119.20 13.9 127.33 * 118.80 * 7.2 Revenue Per Available Room ($) Sep '08 93.07 76.08 22.3 86.37 * 79.93 * 8.1 POSTINGS AND FORECLOSURES Postings (Harris County) Nov '08 2,796 2,912 -4.0 30,430 26,713 13.9 Foreclosures (Harris County) Nov '08 773 1,121 -31.0 11,233 10,860 3.4 December 2008 ©2008, Greater Houston Partnership Page 5
  • 6. HOUSTON—THE ECONOMY AT A GLANCE Sources Rig Count Baker Hughes Incorporated Port Shipments Port of Houston Authority Spot WTI, Spot Natural Gas U.S. Energy Information Agency Aviation Aviation Department, City of Houston Purchasing Managers National Association of Houston Index Purchasing Management – Car and Truck Sales TexAuto Facts Report, InfoNation, Houston, Inc. Inc., Sugar Land TX Electricity CenterPoint Energy Retail Sales Texas Comptroller’s Office Building Construction Contracts McGraw-Hill Construction Consumer Price Index U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics City of Houston Building Permits Building Permit Department, City Hotels PKF Consulting/Hospitality Asset of Houston Advisors International MLS Data Houston Association of Realtors® Postings, Foreclosures Foreclosure Information & Listing Employment, Unemployment Texas Workforce Commission Service STAY UP TO DATE! If you would like to receive this publication by e-mail on the first working day of each month, please e- mail your request for Economy at a Glance, your name, title and phone number, and your company’s name and address to kasdorf@houston.org. The foregoing table is updated whenever any data change — typically, 11 or so times per month. If you would like to receive those updates by e-mail, usually accompanied by commentary, please e-mail your request for Key Economic Indicators, your name, title and phone number, and your company’s name and address to kasdorf@houston.org. December 2008 ©2008, Greater Houston Partnership Page 6
  • 7. HOUSTON—THE ECONOMY AT A GLANCE HOUSTON MSA NONFARM PAYROLL EMPLOYMENT (000) Change from % Change from Oct '08 Sep '08 Oct '07 Sep '08 Oct '07 Sep '08 Oct '07 Total Nonfarm Payroll Jobs 2,634.9 2,627.3 2,582.6 7.6 52.3 0.3 2.0 Total Private 2,268.1 2,266.7 2,226.9 1.4 41.2 0.1 1.9 Goods Producing 531.8 531.2 520.1 0.6 11.7 0.1 2.2 Service Providing 2,103.1 2,096.1 2,062.5 7.0 40.6 0.3 2.0 Private Service Providing 1,736.3 1,735.5 1,706.8 0.8 29.5 0.0 1.7 Natural Resources and Mining 92.4 91.4 86.0 1.0 6.4 1.1 7.4 Oil & Gas Extraction 47.6 47.0 45.0 0.6 2.6 1.3 5.8 Support Activities for Mining 43.8 43.5 40.1 0.3 3.7 0.7 9.2 Construction 204.1 202.9 199.0 1.2 5.1 0.6 2.6 Manufacturing 235.3 236.9 235.1 -1.6 0.2 -0.7 0.1 Durable Goods Manufacturing 155.7 156.7 154.2 -1.0 1.5 -0.6 1.0 Nondurable Goods Manufacturing 79.6 80.2 80.9 -0.6 -1.3 -0.7 -1.6 Wholesale Trade 139.5 139.4 136.3 0.1 3.2 0.1 2.3 Retail Trade 267.4 266.3 263.0 1.1 4.4 0.4 1.7 Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities 126.2 125.5 125.5 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.6 Utilities 15.2 15.1 15.1 0.1 0.1 0.7 0.7 Air Transportation 26.1 26.2 25.7 -0.1 0.4 -0.4 1.6 Truck Transportation 22.2 22.3 21.5 -0.1 0.7 -0.4 3.3 Pipeline Transportation 9.1 9.1 8.4 0.0 0.7 0.0 8.3 Information 36.4 36.5 36.8 -0.1 -0.4 -0.3 -1.1 Telecommunications 15.8 15.9 16.0 -0.1 -0.2 -0.6 -1.3 Finance & Insurance 94.3 94.6 93.6 -0.3 0.7 -0.3 0.7 Real Estate & Rental and Leasing 54.1 54.2 52.3 -0.1 1.8 -0.2 3.4 Professional & Business Services 397.1 395.4 388.8 1.7 8.3 0.4 2.1 Professional, Scientific & Technical Services 181.8 180.4 179.7 1.4 2.1 0.8 1.2 Legal Services 23.9 23.8 23.8 0.1 0.1 0.4 0.4 Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping 18.0 17.9 17.8 0.1 0.2 0.6 1.1 Architectural, Engineering & Related Services 66.7 66.5 64.7 0.2 2.0 0.3 3.1 Computer Systems Design & Related Services 25.4 25.1 24.9 0.3 0.5 1.2 2.0 Admin & Support/Waste Mgt & Remediation 195.9 196.9 192.1 -1.0 3.8 -0.5 2.0 Administrative & Support Services 190.8 190.6 183.6 0.2 7.2 0.1 3.9 Employment Services 85.0 85.1 81.0 -0.1 4.0 -0.1 4.9 Educational Services 43.8 43.0 43.4 0.8 0.4 1.9 0.9 Health Care & Social Assistance 251.6 251.4 244.6 0.2 7.0 0.1 2.9 Arts, Entertainment & Recreation 25.9 27.3 25.9 -1.4 0.0 -5.1 0.0 Accommodation & Food Services 205.0 206.0 202.8 -1.0 2.2 -0.5 1.1 Other Services 95.0 95.9 93.8 -0.9 1.2 -0.9 1.3 Government 366.8 360.6 355.7 6.2 11.1 1.7 3.1 Federal Government 29.2 29.1 28.7 0.1 0.5 0.3 1.7 State Government 72.4 72.7 71.8 -0.3 0.6 -0.4 0.8 State Government Educational Services 40.7 39.9 39.4 0.8 1.3 2.0 3.3 Local Government 265.2 259.1 255.2 6.1 10.0 2.4 3.9 Local Government Educational Services 180.8 176.2 176.7 4.6 4.1 2.6 2.3 SOURCE: Texas Workforce Commission December 2008 ©2008, Greater Houston Partnership Page 7
  • 8. HOUSTON—THE ECONOMY AT A GLANCE HOUSTON MSA EMPLOYMENT CHANGE BY INDUSTRY 2007-2009 20 18 16 14 NET JOB CHANGE (000) 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10 Construction Health Care & Social Assistance Finance & Insurance Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities Information Educational Services Arts, Entertainment & Recreation Manufacturing Wholesale Trade Professional & Business Services Other Services Accommodation & Food Services Retail Trade Government Natural Resources & Mining Real Estate & Rental and Leasing '07 '08 '09 Sources: Texas Workforce Commission 12/06-10/08; Greater Houston Partnership 11/08-12/09 HOUSTON MSA EMPLOYMENT 1999-2009 2.65 120 2.60 105 NONFARM PAYROLL EMPLOYMENT (000,000) 2.55 90 2.50 75 12-MONTH CHANGE (000) 2.45 60 2.40 45 2.35 30 2.30 15 2.25 0 2.20 -15 2.15 -30 Jan-99 Jan-00 Jan-01 Jan-02 Jan-03 Jan-04 Jan-05 Jan-06 Jan-07 Jan-08 Jan-09 12-MONTH CHANGE JOBS Source: Texas Workforce Commission December 2008 ©2008, Greater Houston Partnership Page 8
  • 9. HOUSTON—THE ECONOMY AT A GLANCE GOODS-PRODUCING AND SERVICE-PROVIDING EMPLOYMENT HOUSTON MSA 1999-2009 540 2.20 530 2.15 520 2.10 2.05 510 SERVICE-PROVIDING (000,000) GOODS-PRODUCING (000) 2.00 500 1.95 490 1.90 480 1.85 470 1.80 460 1.75 450 1.70 440 1.65 430 1.60 Jan-99 Jan-00 Jan-01 Jan-02 Jan-03 Jan-04 Jan-05 Jan-06 Jan-07 Jan-08 Jan-09 GOODS-PRODUCING JOBS SERVICE-PROVIDING JOBS Source: Texas Workforce Commission UNEMPLOYMENT RATE HOUSTON & U.S. 1999-2009 8 7 6 PERCENT OF LABOR FORCE 5 4 3 2 1 0 Jan-99 Jan-00 Jan-01 Jan-02 Jan-03 Jan-04 Jan-05 Jan-06 Jan-07 Jan-08 Jan-09 HOUSTON U.S. Source: Texas Workforce Commission December 2008 ©2008, Greater Houston Partnership Page 9
  • 10. HOUSTON—THE ECONOMY AT A GLANCE SPOT MARKET ENERGY PRICES 1999 - 2009 140 28 130 26 120 24 110 22 HENRY HUB NATURAL GAS ($/MMBTU) WEST TEXAS INTERMEDIATE ($/BBL) 100 20 90 18 80 16 70 14 60 12 50 10 40 8 30 6 20 4 10 2 0 0 Jan-99 Jan-00 Jan-01 Jan-02 Jan-03 Jan-04 Jan-05 Jan-06 Jan-07 Jan-08 Jan-09 WTI MONTHLY WTI 12-MO AVG GAS MONTHLY GAS 12-MONTH AVG Source: U.S. Energy Information Agency INFLATION: 12-MONTH CHANGE 1999 - 2009 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% 0% -1% -2% Jan-99 Jan-00 Jan-01 Jan-02 Jan-03 Jan-04 Jan-05 Jan-06 Jan-07 Jan-08 Jan-09 HOUSTON CPI-U U.S. CPI-U Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2008 ©2008, Greater Houston Partnership Page 10