Party's Over In Houston, Guru Barton Smith Says

Every year at this time, Houston's leaders gather to hear the pearls of wisdom that come from UH professor

Barton Smith

as he predicts where the city's economy will go in the future.

Today, as in the past, the ballroom at the Hyatt Regency was sold out. If the 1,000 or so people in attendance were there hoping to hear how Houston was going to continue weathering the U.S.'s financial storm, they were disappointed.

Hard times are coming, Smith told the crowd.

"We're about to lose our energy cushion," Smith told the crowd.

Smith, an affable, quotable guy, has been consistently optimistic in past years; the worst he's gotten is calling for slower growth.

Now, he says, Houston may start shedding jobs. It could be 5,000 or it could be 25,000, depending on the scenario envisioned.

But the news wasn't all bad -- it may only take a couple of years before we recover! Hallelujah!

-- Richard Connelly

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