Houston, Texas (Expansion Office)
During the late 1970s Houston epitomized opulence, glitter, and opportunity. The city's major industry, petrochemicals, rode the crest of a boom "in the oilpatch," as Houstonians say. Get-rich-quick growth became a predominant feature across the sprawling landscape of the city. By 1982, however, a national recession, coupled with a wildly fluctuating oil market and devaluation of the Mexican peso, changed Houston's outlook from boom to bust. Unemployment and the local economy reached depression levels by 1985, prompting a painful retrenchment. Houston's recovery and subsequent expansion are the result of the growth of energy independent industry and diversification. Optimism is back in Houston as the city looks to new opportunities in high-technology and service industries. As a result of the boom, and despite the bust, Houston's consolidated metropolitan area now exceeds 8,700 square miles and the population has more than doubled from the 1960 level. Now the nation's fourth largest metropolitan area, with nearly 4.2 million people, Houston is looking up again and approaching the future with confidence.