Houston is recognized worldwide
for its energy industry — particularly for oil and natural gas
— as well as for biomedical research and
The ship channel is also a large part of Houston's economic
base. Because of these strengths, Houston is designated as a
gamma world city by the Globalization and World Cities Study
Group and Network.
The Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown MSA's Gross Area Product
(GAP) in 2006 was $325.5 billion, slightly larger than
Austria’s, Poland’s or Saudi Arabia’s Gross Domestic Product
When comparing Houston's economy to a national economy, only
21 countries other than the United States have a gross domestic
product exceeding Houston's regional gross area product.
Mining, which in Houston is almost entirely exploration and
production of oil and gas, accounts for 11% of Houston's GAP;
this is down from 21% in 1985. The reduced role of oil and gas
in Houston's GAP reflects the rapid growth of other sectors,
such as engineering services, health services, and
Houston ranks second in employment growth rate and fourth in
nominal employment growth among the 10 most populous metro
areas in the U.S. The unemployment rate in the city was 3.8% in
April 2008, the lowest level in eight years while the job
growth rate was 2.8%.
In 2006, the Houston metropolitan area ranked first in Texas
and third in the U.S. within the category of "Best Places for
Business and Careers" by Forbes magazine.
Forty foreign governments maintain trade and commercial
offices here and the city has 23 active foreign chambers of
commerce and trade associations. Twenty foreign banks
representing 10 nations operate in Houston, providing financial
assistance to the international community.
In 2008, Houston received top ranking on Kiplinger's
Personal Finance Best Cities of 2008 list which ranks cities on
their local economy, employment opportunities, reasonable
living costs and quality of life.
The city ranked fourth for highest increase in the local
technological innovation over the preceding 15 years, according
to Forbes magazine. In the same year, the city ranked second on
the annual Fortune 500 list of company headquarters and ranked
first for Forbes Best Cities for College Graduates.
Other Major Cities:
- New York
- Los Angeles
- San Antonio
- San Diego
- San Jose
- Washington DC
- San Franciso