Job Market Strength

By almost any of the usual measures, the job market is better than it has been in decades. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May 2018 was 3.8%, the lowest level in nearly 20 years. Job gains have averaged 179,000 over the last three months, with millions more people now employed than a year ago. […]

Texas Wind

Texas has more capacity to generate electricity from wind than any other state. In fact, Texas’ capacity of 22,799 megawatts is triple that of second-place Oklahoma and is larger than most countries around the world. The Lone Star State also tops the list for capacity currently under development. Smart policy decisions decades ago have been the key to the development of the Texas wind power […]

Urban Texas Expansion

Texas cities are dominating national expansion. The US Census Bureau recently released estimates of population growth between July 2016 and July 2017, and Texas cities top the list both for the number of new residents and the fastest rate of growth. San Antonio added more new residents than any city in the nation; a gain of 24,208 pushed the total population above 1.5 million. That’s […]

Economic (R)Evolution

Even as full employment and difficulties finding workers are challenging businesses across the country, researchers are describing scenarios in which a third of US jobs could go away by 2030 due to automation and artificial intelligence (AI). Global consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimates that between 39 million and 73 million US jobs could be eliminated due to AI. For about half of those, there […]

There’s $70…and Then There’s $70

Advances in technology have reduced the cost to produce oil, contributing to the current high level of activity in truly amazing ways. Only three years ago, $70 per barrel almost shut down the industry; today, it accelerates an ongoing surge. For more than three years from early 2011 through mid-2014, the price of crude oil trended around $100. At that level, the primary focus was […]

Slow and Steady

The US economic expansion is setting records right and left. What began as a “jobless recovery” is now making history for its duration, and, without a major shock, there’s no obvious end in sight. The recovery wasn’t impressive at the outset, but slow and steady is winning. The current US economic expansion now ranks in a tie for the second longest in history (with the […]

Going Digital

Over the past two decades, we’ve gone digital. The development of the internet and related technologies and advances in communications have changed the way we live and work, affecting virtually every aspect of our daily routines. The digital segment of the economy has been growing much faster than the overall pace, but up until recently, there wasn’t a good way to measure it. Even if […]

Help Wanted

The number of job openings in the United States has topped six million for several months now according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), up about a half million from a year ago and the highest the country has ever seen. Although the long years of high unemployment following the Great Recession make this welcome news, the United States may face major difficulties […]

Incentive Issues

Recently, there have been questions raised regarding the fairness of the use of the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF), a key aspect of the state’s economic development incentives. At issue is whether the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex gets a disproportionate share of awards. The TEF is an important “deal closing” fund which has been effectively used to enhance Texas’ ability to attract desirable corporate locations and expansions. […]

Trade Tension

The situation between the United States and China is tense, with new tariffs, threats of more tariffs, and growing fears that an all-out trade war may actually happen. There has recently been some sign of softening in the rhetoric between the two nations, but until and unless there is real dialogue and meaningful change, the risk of an escalation remains. Because it’s the world’s two […]