HOUSTON - As the nation's economy finds its footing, after a year and a half of the pandemic, industrial growth has been one of the bright spots.
The Federal Reserve says manufacturing surged, nationwide, in July, as demand grows for the things consumers want and the components that businesses need to make their products. In Houston, that means millions of square feet of new space to help meet that demand.
In a brand new warehouse, on the city's north side, Houston-based PSS Industrial Group is still moving into its new headquarters. The nearly quarter-million square foot space is a bigger footprint for the company that bills itself as a hardware store for the industry.
PSSI's Philip Goodwin says the company decided in late 2020, that they needed the space.
"We are starting to see a surge in the markets that we support," he said.
While the facility improves and modernizes operations, it also allows better service for busy customers.
The expanse of racks holds a dizzying array of tools, mechanical supplies, hardware, and safety equipment. In another corner, the company manufactures sensitive testing devices. There is a demand for all of it.
"It's absolutely a healthy market from supporting a lot of the things that are in the general supply chain and the general economy, right now," says Goodwin.
PSSI is not unique. With the Port of Houston a major link in the global supply chain, bringing goods into the central U.S., manufacturers, and warehouses are increasingly setting up shop to handle the surge.
A report from commercial real estate firm JLL points to tens of millions of square feet of space, that has been leased in the last year.
"What we're seeing is demand-driven... and you see that with asking 'What does our supply chain look like?'", says JLL's industrial services group executive vice president Richard Quarles, "What role does Houston play? Houston's role continues to go up."
The industrial expansion also includes jobs. While it's difficult to quantify ‘how many?’ it is an added opportunity to the long-list job openings that are available in a labor market that is slowly getting back to work.