An executive from the Greater Houston Partnership spoke with Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce members about the struggle for economic recovery, with forces pulling the economy both in and out of the recession.

Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of the group, said Thursday the struggle was like a tug of war, with some factors pulling Houston’s economy into recovery, and others keeping the economy from progressing and bringing back jobs.

Some positives include consumer sentiment at its highest level since March; single-family home sales and car sales are back up, according to data from the US Census Bureau and the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. Jankowski said an increase in automobile sales was a short-term indicator of consumer confidence, while home sales were a long-term indicator of consumer confidence.

Jankowski also said retail sales overall have risen since the pandemic first hit in March and April, according to census data, like how sales go up around hurricane season.


“Think back about after Harvey hit the region and how regional sales surged because people were having to replace everything that was lost,” Jankowski said. “People weren’t able to shop early on in the pandemic, so now you’re starting to see this increase in retail sales.”

There are still some factors holding back economic recovery, he said, including the still present risk of COVID-119, turmoil in the stock market, high unemployment claims and the lack of a new economic stimulus package.

At the worst part of the great recession in 2009, there were about 600,000 unemployment claims weekly, he said, while the highest the U.S. has seen during the pandemic was 7 million weekly, but that

He started as a cook in the Michelin-starred Antonio Restaurant, and then quickly rose through the ranks to become head chef in just three years. “The opportunities are definitely better in Macau as many hotels, casinos and resorts have opened here,” said the 31-year-old.

Last year, he was the given the task of opening Paulaner Brahaus, a franchised German restaurant in the former Portuguese colony. Tavares was on track to open in late January when the Covid-19 outbreak in China brought tourism to a standstill, disrupting plans and pushing back the opening of the 150-seat outlet by nearly a year to December.

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Tavares’ predicament and those linked to the city’s tourism industry show that Macau’s reliance on gaming, tourism and affiliated services is hurting its economy as it accounted for 70 per cent of its revenues in the first eight months of this year.

Macau needs to move quickly to diversify its economy to provide new job opportunities and income sources for its growing population, especially in light of the havoc wrecked to its mainstay tourism industry by the coronavirus pandemic, say analysts and veteran businessmen.

Just before the Covid-19 pandemic derailed the city’s economy, Beijing announced a raft of policies in December last year aimed at diversifying Macau’s economy and forging closer integration with the Greater Bay Area by building its financial services industry, while maintaining its position as a leading gaming and tourism centre.

President Xi Jinping, during his three-day visit to Macau in December last year to mark the 20th anniversary of its return from Portuguese to Chinese rule, backed the city to develop into a service platform for commercial and trade cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. Xi