Recession to hit Houston economy hard

HOUSTON (AP) - A prominent local economist says Houston will have a tough 2009 as the effects of the global recession and falling oil prices are finally felt in the nation's energy capital.

During a speech Tuesday, University of Houston economics professor Barton Smith said the Houston region's recent energy boom will turn into a bust as the global financial crisis has reduced the demand for oil. He says this will result in about 61,000 job losses in Houston in the next two years.

Smith said Houston often lags behind the rest of the nation in falling into a recession and thus it will be slower to begin its recovery.

But Smith did offer some good news: the local housing market is still fairly strong.


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