Harvey led to surprising boost in Houston-area economy

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In central and south Texas, an area the size of Michigan is flooded by Hurricane Harvey. The damage could exceed $100 billion.

HOUSTON - State figures show the spending that came in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey generated jobs in construction, retail and other sectors, giving a surprising boost to the Houston-area economy.

The Houston Chronicle reports that billions of dollars in insurance payments and federal disaster aid came to the region following Harvey's arrival in August. People spent the money at retailers to replace damaged household goods and hired contractors to repair homes.

The Texas Workforce Commission says Houston added nearly 63,000 jobs last year, well above initial estimates of 46,000.

State numbers show the job gains came after a weaker performance in the local economy in 2015 and 2016 that previously estimated. The region shed jobs in each of those years as it struggled through the worst oil bust in a generation.

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