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It’s been a heck of a year. From an economic perspective, we saw both good things and bad. Here’s a rundown of the events and emerging trends I think will have the most long-lasting effects on the economy. more
Much of the economic activity in Texas occurs within the state’s largest metropolitan statistical areas. These urban centers are the primary leaders in business and trade for individuals and companies across the state, though smaller population centers and rural areas still make a significant contribution. more
These are cynical times we live in, to be sure. From daily political skirmishes and workplace threats to the specter of unhinged world leaders rattling their nuclear sabers, it seems as good a time as any to sit down, draw a deep breath and relax. Thankfully, Christmas is just a few days away. But this most precious of Christian observances has undergone so many major renovations over the years the cynic can point to the crass commercialization of the holiday and mutter “why bother.’’ more
Taking a long-term view of the outlook for the Texas economy, I am encouraged, yet also cautious. With all of the key ingredients for economic success, the state is well positioned for expansion in business activity and the prosperity that goes with it for decades to come. However, continued economic performance hinges on adapting to the underlying changes in the population and workforce. more
The U.S. economy has been performing well, setting the stage for future growth. Much of the slack in the labor market has been eliminated. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 261,000 in October, and the unemployment rate is down to 4.1 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of unemployed persons was 6.5 million, down 1.1 million since January. About 1.6 million of the unemployed had been jobless for 27 weeks or more. more
At this time every year it seems a Christmas poem is the right thing to help celebrate the season. So, here it is. more
As you know, I hate shoppin’. I’d rather jump off a cliff with a firecracker up my nose than go shoppin’, but if I don’t buy “you know who” somethin’ for Christmas, it makes for a really bad New Year. Anywho, a few weeks ago, I was out of town and drove by a huge mall. I had a little time on my hands so I figured I could run in, grab somethin’ for Janet for Christmas, and be done with it. Man, I had to park about 14 miles from the place, and by the time I’d walked to the mall entrance, I was worn out. more
The clock is ticking on a two-million-job issue: finding a permanent solution to replace Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program which allows individuals who entered the United States as children to remain here for school or work. Nearly 800,000 persons across the country are enrolled in the program, and approximately 124,300 of these individuals (often called “Dreamers”) live in Texas. DACA was never intended to be a permanent solution, and it is time for Congress to step up and deal with the situation in a sustainable manner. The Trump Administration’s decision to end the current version of DACA allowed six months for Congressional action to provide a replacement. more
OK, I’m gonna get on my soapbox today. If you don’t know what that means, then ask your momma or daddy. If they don’t know what it means, ask your grandma or grandpa. The reason I’m gettin’ on my soapbox is because of what I’ve been observin’ here lately. And what I’ve been observin’ is all the sick kids now-a-days. Now, I’m not talkin’ about kids with serious problems. I’m talkin’ about kids with sniffles, allergies, and stuff like that. more
I was recently asked by the House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness to offer a perspective on some of the issues affecting Texas’ future performance. The Committee’s purpose in the hearing was to address “principles that… should guide the state’s pursuit of long-term economic growth.” I am pleased that members of the legislature are thinking in these terms, as it is essential to long-term prosperity. I focused primarily on three issues of concern which could, if not handled appropriately, result in notable and lasting damage. While one issue relates to ongoing changes in the Texas population and how we handle them, the other two are choices that, if made, would be self-inflicted wounds. more
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