Saturday, June 14, 2008

Blue Collar City

http://i244.photobucket.com/albums/gg36/RobertWBoyd/factories.jpg?t=1213457216Factory buildings in Northwest Houston

I always knew Houston was basically a blue-collar city, and this just confirms it.
Industrial employment in Texas remained flat over the past year while Houston ranked first in the nation in terms of manufacturing jobs, according to a recent report.
Houston has 222,072 manufacturing jobs, according the article, compared to Dallas's 92,223. So the feeling in Dallas that Houston is just a town full of rednecks with dirty fingernails is basically correct.

The article mentions Texas's relatively good position compared to the rest of the country.

Evanston, Ill.-based Manufacturers' News Inc. (MNI) reports Texas gained 4,579 industrial jobs, representing a half percent increase, from April 2007 to April 2008. The 2008 manufacturing report indicates a smaller increase than posted by the state in prior years. However, Texas is still in a better position than much of the U.S., which suffered significant employment losses over the year.
Which only makes sense--when the price of oil goes up and up and up, Texas benefits while most of the rest of the nation suffers. A lot of that manufacturing in Houston is done by metal-bashing firms making stuff for the oil and gas industry--companies like Cameron, FMC, National Oilwell Varco, and many many others.

When we think of blue collar Houston, we think of the petrochemical plants in Pasadena and Baytown. But a good portion of the factory workers in Houston work in fairly anonymous metal sheds like those pictured above. There are little manufacturing neighborhoods with this type of factory all over town--this one in Northwest Houston near 290 and Brittmore, but also the one north of Memorial Park where the Hempstead Highway begins, and others as well.

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