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Past Report Cards

Workforce Report Card

Workforce Report Card

The Gulf Coast Workforce Board and its operating affiliate Workforce Solutions are the public workforce system in the 13-county Houston-Galveston region. We help employers meet their human resource needs and individuals build careers, so both can compete in the global economy.

With participation from the region's chief local elected officials, the Workforce Board sets the strategic direction for the regional workforce system and guides the area's workforce agenda focusing on four key results:

  • competitive employers
  • an educated workforce
  • more and better jobs, and
  • higher incomes.

In February 2005, the Board produced the first Report Card as a tool to gauge the region's competitiveness in relation to similar metropolitan areas across the United States. Since then, the Board has produced four subsequent updates. The most recent Report Card (2015) also measures how the Houston-Galveston region fits into the larger global economy.

An in-depth look at several indicator measures that contribute to the overall prosperity of our region established that the Houston-Galveston region of Texas ranks highly in terms of economic performance and is competitive on labor force composition and quality of life, however educational achievement remains an issue.

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2019 Workforce Report Card

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Gulf Coast Indicator Spotlights

Areas of progress since the last Report Card

The following graphics highlight 12 indicators on which the Gulf Coast improved between the previous and current Workforce Report Card. The first nine indicators cover metrics ranging from job and business growth to income and poverty to health insurance, all of which are arguably more sensitive to the business cycle than the four remaining indicators related to educational attainment.

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2019 Report Card

Real Medium Household
Business, Employment, Income, Poverty and Healthcare

After adjusting each region’s income by its respective rate of inflation between 2012 and 2017, real median household income increased by as little as 4.2 percent in San Antonio to as much as 14.7 percent in San Diego. The Gulf Coast region saw modest real wage growth over the five-year period as well, posting an increase of only 5.6 percent, the second-lowest among the comparison areas.

Real Medium Household

The growth in the number of business establishments showed more variety than MGDP with the Gulf Coast virtually tying with Denver for second-place and preceded only by Dallas. In contrast, the Houston area ranked first on this indicator in the 2015 Report Card. As with many indicators throughout the current Report Card, the most likely cause of the comparatively weaker performance lay in the decline in oil prices a few years earlier. The loss of two spots in the rankings contributed to the region’s lower letter grade in Macroeconomy and Industry Dynamics although to a lesser extent than the change in MGDP noted previously. A final observation was that all the nine comparison areas exceeded the national rate of business establishment growth of 5.5 percent.

Real Medium Household

The five-year rate of job growth across the Gulf Coast, consistent with the metropolitan gross domestic product, was the slowest of the comparison areas, up 10.4 percent. While this was above the U.S. rate of 9.3 percent, all other comparison areas saw rates above 13 percent with Denver growing the fastest followed by Dallas and San Antonio.

Real Medium Household

The below average job growth observed in the Gulf Coast region was also reflected in the area’s above average unemployment rate. The Gulf Coast posted the highest unemployment rate of the comparison areas at 5.0 percent, although this was down from a cycle high of 5.3 percent in recorded in 2016. Nevertheless, the fall from second-place to ninth in this indicator contributed to the region’s overall lower performance on the employment and unemployment measure. Denver had the lowest unemployment rate followed by San Antonio and Dallas.

Real Medium Household

The percentage of families in poverty decreased in all comparison regions for which comparable data were available since the last Report Card. The Gulf Coast had the highest percentage of families in poverty.[i] Denver and Seattle tied for the lowest rates. Note that poverty thresholds are as of 2017 and range from $12,488 a year for a one-person household to $47,389 for a household of nine or more related individuals.[ii]

Real Medium Household

The percentage of households receiving public assistance decreased across all regions since the last Report Card. Miami had the highest percentage of households receiving public assistance and was the only region with a higher percentage than the nation. The Gulf Coast had the second-highest percentage. As was the case in the previous Report Card, Denver had the lowest percentage of households receiving assistance of any comparison area, the only area with a rate below 10 percent.

Real Medium Household

The percentage of individuals 16 years and over in poverty and working also saw declines compared to the previous Report Card. In contrast to the other poverty indicators, Denver had the highest percentage of working individuals in poverty, maintaining its rank from the previous Report Card. The Gulf Coast had the second-highest rate followed by Dallas and Atlanta while Miami continued to have the lowest rate.

Real Medium Household

Individuals who do not have health insurance coverage face insufficient access to medical care and greater financial risk from medical expenses. Seattle had the lowest percentage of individuals with no health insurance and the highest percentage with employer-provided health insurance. The Gulf Coast had the highest percentage without health insurance and the second-lowest rate of employer-provided coverage, despite improvements on both measures since the last Report Card. As noted throughout this report, the Gulf Coast’s ranking on this measure may be related to large numbers of individuals experiencing layoffs between 2014 and 2017 resulting in a loss of insurance coverage, employer-provided or otherwise.

Real Medium Household
Real Medium Household
Education

For the school year ended in 2015-2016, the most recent year for which data were available for all comparison areas, the lowest adjusted graduation rate was recorded in Seattle, which stood in contrast to this area having the highest percentage of individuals 25 and over with a high school diploma and the second-highest percentage of residents over 25 with a bachelor’s degree. The Gulf Coast posted the second-lowest graduation rate of the comparison areas but differed from Seattle in that it possessed the lowest percentage of residents with a high school diploma. The Gulf Coast also saw an increase in the percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree, leaving the region in sixth place in 2017, similar to its standing in 2013.

Real Medium Household
Real Medium Household

The share of residents with associate’s degrees rose from 37 percent to 39.6 percent since the 2015 Report Card and the region remained in second-to-last place on this indicator.

Real Medium Household

The Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) is an estimate of “the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class. From the beginning of 9th grade (or the earliest high school grade), students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is ‘adjusted’ by adding any students who subsequently transfer into the cohort and subtracting any students who subsequently transfer out, emigrate to another country, etc.” The following graduation rates refer to the single-largest urban school district in each comparison metro as this was an equitable method of comparing distinct areas with varying workforce development areas and political boundaries.

Real Medium Household