UH’s Barton Smith Examines ‘Houston Recession’

Economic Symposium to be Held May 5 at Hyatt Hotel Houston

During his much-anticipated biannual forecast, Dr. Barton Smith, University of Houston economics professor and director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting (IRF), will examine the likelihood of alternative scenarios regarding the future of the global, national and local economies during these times of serious stress and fear, but the primary focus will be on how the global meltdown is now spreading its tentacles to Houston.

Smith's presentation, "Houston Without Energy Growth: Implications for Jobs and Real Estate," will be held Tuesday, May 5, in the Imperial Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Houston Hotel, 1200 Louisiana St., in downtown Houston.

Arrangements for media representatives to both attend the symposium luncheon and interview Smith have been made. Smith will be available for one-on-one interviews with individual members of the media and print reporters from 10:30-11:40 a.m. prior to the presentation and at 1:30 pm after the symposium. Contact Richard Bonnin at 713-743-8155 or rbonnin@uh.edu for more information.

In this symposium, Smith will present the newest economic statistics on the Houston economy as the local region begins to shed jobs. He also will discuss his assessment of the severity and longevity of the current national and global economic crisis, whether recent policy initiatives are likely to turn the tide, and how in the interim Houston will weather this serious recession. In particular, Dr. Smith will discuss how the new economic environment has and will continue to affect Houstonians in terms of the value of their homes, the value of their stock-oriented retirement plans and the security of their local jobs. While rejecting the notion of a depression, Smith will show that this current economic reversal will prove to be the worst recession since the "Great Depression" and why the road to recovery will likely be bumpy and extended. Smith also will provide many statistics showing exactly why the region's energy boom will turn into an energy bust, at least as severe as the bust of the late 90s when oil prices temporarily fell below $10/barrel. Equally important, he will show that for many of Houston's real estate markets, the timing of this economic reversal couldn't have come at a worse time with plenty of new retail and office space coming on line this year. Surprisingly however, Smith suggests that despite the fact that the local recession is just now beginning to unfold, this year may be the best time to buy a home for Houstonians who can clearly qualify for owner-occupied housing.

Smith has conducted numerous studies on urban issues, housing, transportation and the environment. During the past 20 years, he has gained national recognition for his analyses of the Houston economy and real estate markets. Smith wrote "Handbook on the Houston Economy" and continues to present and publish two symposium reports a year on Houston's economy and real estate markets. For more information, go to http://www.uh.edu/irf/index.htm.


WHO: Barton Smith, UH professor of economics and director of the UH Institute for Regional Forecasting
WHAT: "Houston Without Energy Growth: Implications for Jobs and Real Estate"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Media availability: 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.; 1:30 - 2 p.m.
Luncheon: 11:30 a.m. - 12:10 p.m., Imperial Ballroom
Presentation: 12:10 - 1:30 p.m., Imperial Ballroom

WHERE: Imperial Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Houston Hotel, 1200 Louisiana St., Houston