The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce recently hosted its annual Economic Outlook Conference, exhibiting a positive outlook for the future of the township and surrounding area.


Topics at the conference included the oil and gas industry, the employment rate and upcoming projects that will impact The Woodlands directly. According to keynote speaker and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Greg Hegar, in an article in Community Impact Newspaper, people still want to move to Texas for economic opportunity, despite lower overall revenue in the previous cycle.


In addition, the job market grew over the past year, which was unexpected, according to Gil Staley, CEO of The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership.


“Data that examines at The Woodlands’ major employers, which includes non-retail companies and those with more than 100 employees, shows the community has 33,128 jobs, up from 32,618 jobs in 2016, according to the EDP,” the locally relevant economic article by Marie Leonard says.


Job growth should remain steady, as Sperling’s Best Places projects a 36.32 percent increase over the course of the next 10 years.


Economic development is important to this growth process. There are a few projects planned that should support the economy, including a 56,000-square-foot site on Research Forest Drive that could house additional retail and dining.


Tim Welbes, co-president of The Woodlands Development Company, shared plans for the retail space at the meeting, along with a Waterway Square parking lot conversion to an office building, according to the article.


The Woodlands Township Chairman of the Board Gordy Bunch was a featured speaker at the conference, praising the township’s overall financial situation.


“We have one of the lowest tax rates in the region and around the state,” he said, as reported in a press release on the township’s official website. The Woodlands’ rate has lowered from 32.5 cents per $100 value in 2010 to 23 cents per $100 value in 2016, according to the release.


“It’s imperative to be in a strong financial position as we must protect the values of investment in The Woodlands for years to come,” he said, according to the press release. “We’re in a great position due to visionary leadership yesterday, today and going forward.”