Axios Houston

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πŸ’« We're back! It's Tuesday.

β˜€οΈ Today's weather: High of 74, low of 58. Slightly foggy.

πŸ– Sounds like: "Single Ladies" by BeyoncΓ©.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Houston member Michael Rowe!

πŸ—³ Situational awareness: Early voting starts today and runs through March 1.

  • Find Harris County sample ballots and voting centers here.

Today's newsletter is 821 words β€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Texas economy "cleared for landing" in 2024

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The Texas economy exceeded expectations in 2023 after earlier worries of a national recession, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Why it matters: Economists had projected a soft landing for Texas in 2023, predicting it would avoid a major economic downturn if the national economy took a hit.

The big picture: The Texas labor force grew last year at its fastest pace in decades and outpaced growth nationwide, Dallas Fed senior economist Pia Orrenius said at a recent economic outlook event.

  • The state's job growth is expected to cool this year to pre-pandemic figures. "We're cleared for landing," Orrenius said.

State of play: Texas had the country's fifth-highest job growth by percentage last year. Nevada was first.

  • Employment was up 3.1% in Texas, compared with 2% nationwide.
  • The state's information sector, where many tech companies had layoffs, was the only sector that recorded job losses in 2023.

Zoom in: Houston's job growth was 2.9% last year.

  • Metro Houston created 3,600 jobs in December, according to preliminary Texas Workforce Commission numbers. That's one of the weakest Decembers on record, underscoring that economic growth in Houston has slowed considerably in recent months, per the Greater Houston Partnership.

Threat level: Texas firms surveyed by the Dallas Fed in December listed geopolitical worries and uncertainty around the upcoming U.S. elections as their primary concerns over the next six months.

What's next: The Fed projects Texas' job growth will cool to around 2% this year.

Reality check: These are just projections. Recession concerns could return, the costs of goods could continue increasing, and consumers could end up spending less than expected this year.

Go deeper

Sponsored job listings

New jobs to check out

πŸ’Ό See who's hiring around the city.

  1. Director of Marketing and Communications at Interface Behavioral Health.
  2. Director, Creative and Content Strategy at Empower Pharmacy.
  3. Internal Communications Director at Riveron.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

2. Single women are winning Texas real estate

Share of housing units owned and occupied by single women, 2022
Data: LendingTree; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Single ladies, put your hands up.

What's happening: Sixty years ago, women couldn't get a credit card or mortgage without a male co-signer.

  • Now, the nation's share of single women homeowners eclipses that of single men, and overall homeownership is majority female, Axios' Brianna Crane writes.
  • In Texas, census data shows 10.7% of homes are owned by single women, compared with 8.5% by single men.

Why it matters: The gender pay gap and inequitable caregiving responsibilities have historically served as barriers for women.

  • But the rise in homeownership accompanies a strong shift toward women-led households, both single and married, Urban Institute researcher Jung Hyun Choi tells Axios.
  • In 1990, less than a third of total households reported being headed by female breadwinners. In 2021, the majority of households (51%) did.

The big picture: Solo women mortgage applicants made up 18% of the market in 2023 β€” a share that's slowly grown since mortgage platform Maxwell started tracking applicants' gender and marital status in 2021.

  • One in three women with partners bought alone because they were in a stronger financial position to do so, Maxwell's annual Single Women Home Buyer Report found.

Of note: In most age groups, women outnumber men. "This is more a reflection of strength in numbers than economic vitality," the Pew Research Center's Richard Fry tells Axios.

The other side: Opportunity isn't equal. Single Latina and Black women have the lowest homeownership rates of any group in the U.S.

  • Single mothers also face low homeownership rates compared with other groups, including single fathers, Choi's research shows.

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3. Bayou Buzz

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Since 2018, more than 640 immigrants detained in Houston have been placed in solitary confinement. The conditions they face could be deemed torture by the United Nations, per a report by Harvard University and Physicians for Human Rights. (Houston Landing)

Houston leaders gathered at Lakewood Church on Sunday, when thousands attended a special service. Houston police chief Troy Finner said video camera footage from the day of the shooting is still being reviewed by the police department but will soon be released. (Houston Public Media)

πŸ“Š Stat du jour: New statewide polling

A new poll from UT's Texas Politics Project asked registered voters: "What would you say is the most important problem facing the state of Texas today?" Their top responses:

  • Border security: 24%
  • Immigration: 18%
  • Political corruption/leadership: 11%
  • Inflation/rising prices: 8%
  • Gun control/gun violence: 4%

Of note: The poll, conducted Feb. 2-12, involved 1,200 registered voters.

4. Social Calendar

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

πŸ“• Hear bestselling romance writer Tia Williams talk about her new book tonight at a Kindred Stories event.

  • $35 tickets include a signed copy of "A Love Song for Ricki Wilde," while $20 tickets without a book are also available. 7pm at Stages.

πŸ–Ό Watch the play "Laughs in Spanish," about an art gallery turned into an active crime scene, tomorrow at Stages.

  • $25, 7pm.

🎡 Attend a ReelAbilities musical performance, in which musicians and performers with disabilities showcase their talents.

  • 7:30pm Thursday. Free.

πŸͺ© Catch a screening of "Dreamgirls" and then dance to silent disco, celebrating decades of music by Black artists, at the Rooftop Cinema Club Uptown.

  • Doors open at 6pm Thursday. $40.

β˜•οΈ Play pickleball with new friends at the Coffee and Pickleball Social at a court near Memorial City Mall.

  • 8am-noon Friday. $5 open play.

Thanks to Chloe Gonzales for editing and Khalid Adad and Yasmeen Altaji for copy editing this newsletter.

πŸ“– Shafaq is reading "The List" for her book club.

✌️ Jay is out.