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(The Center Square) – Most people think of oil or cattle when they think of Texas. But real estate has been an undervalued frontrunner in Texas' economy.

Commercial real estate construction and investment were higher in Texas last year than in any other state, generating more than $54 billion according to the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP).

NAIOP measures commercial real estate construction and investment, estimating how much it contributes to the economy in terms of both finances and labor.

Their report shows that in 2019, investment and development of office, warehouse, industrial and retail buildings sustained 9.2 million jobs and contributed more than $1 trillion to the U.S. economy.

“The U.S. economy is in nearing 11 years of expansion, growing consistently since July 2009 and making it the longest in American history,” Thomas Bisacquino, NAIOP president and CEO, said in the new report. “Despite slowing global and U.S. fiscal growth, the economy’s expansion is expected to extend beyond 2020. This is good news for our industry, as steady demand will drive new construction and development.”

Texas outpaced California last year with a record $20.9 billion in commercial construction spending, supporting more than 370,000 jobs. California reported just over $15 billion in spending and around 237,000 commercial property jobs. New York reported $16 billion in spending, a $31 billion contribution to its GDP and just over 200,000 jobs.

Nationwide, more office buildings were built last year than any other commercial building, resulting in $50.8 billion in projects. Warehouse and industrial parks were second with more than $49 billion in projects.

Last year in Texas, the NAIOP tracked $11 billion in office building spending and $6 billion in warehouse and industrial spending.