New rules restricting access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will cost the economy billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs. SNAP statute limits participation by adults ages 18-49 who do not have a dependent or a disability to three months of benefits in a 36-month period unless the certain conditions are met. States can waive these limits in areas where sufficient jobs are not available and exempt a percentage of individuals who are not work-capable. Recent changes have tightened the requirements for exemption, and the US Department of Agriculture estimates that the result will be that 688,000 persons lose their SNAP benefits.
Dr. Ray Perryman, founder and President of The Perryman Group, has been selected to receive the Chairman's Award for Lifetime Achievement in Economic Development from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The award is being given in recognition of Dr. Perryman's decades-long commitment to economic development and providing the information corporations and communities need to optimize location decisions.
Hurricane Michael made landfall at the Florida Panhandle on October 10 before moving towards Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia. In addition to the tragic loss of life, the storm caused substantial wind damage and devastating flooding. Recent preliminary damages estimates by the National Weather Service indicate property and short-term losses of over $30 billion.
Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on September 14 before moving over eastern South Carolina. In addition to the tragic loss of life, the storm caused substantial wind damage and devastating flooding. Recent preliminary damages estimates by Moody's Analytics indicate property and short-term losses of $17-$22 billion.
President Trump's recent announcement that the United States and the European Union (EU) would begin trade negotiations and work toward reducing constraints that could yield short-term success and help set the stage for other progress in the near future. EU members are major US trading partners, and, not only would a strong trade deal with zero tariffs have the potential to further enhance economies on both sides of the Atlantic, but also provide substantial benefits for the state of Texas.
The clock is ticking on a two-million-job issue: finding a permanent solution to replace Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA program 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 live in Texas. If no action is taken, these young people will be subject to deportation when work visas in place on March 5, 2018 expire (some are already expiring). The issue has become highly politicized, thus at times masking the critical underlying socioeconomics.
The third major hurricane in two months hit the United States in late September, this time impacting Puerto Rico and surrounding islands. A category 4 storm at landfall, Hurricane Maria hit south of Yabucoa Harbor in Puerto Rico on September 20, with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. The storm caused the electrical infrastructure of the entire island to be destroyed, and some estimates put the restoration of power on the island on a six to eight or even 10-month time frame. Hurricane Maria also extensively damaged drinking water supply systems, hospitals, schools, and cell service infrastructure.
With Hurricane Irma making landfall in Florida, the US has suffered two major hurricanes in a little over two weeks. Fortunately, the impact of Irma was not as bad as initially feared, although it still created significant damage and destruction of homes and businesses. The human suffering is of paramount importance, and the emotional losses are enormous. As with Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma will have a significant impact on the economy.
The Trump Administration has announced a decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an immigration program allowing individuals who entered the United States as children to remain here for school or work. Nearly 800,000 persons are enrolled in the program. Approximately 124,3000 of these "Dreamers" live in Texas, with a high concentration in Houston and the Gulf Coast region.
Hurricane Harvey has proven to be a catastrophic, unprecedented storm, and its impact has worsened as the storm has continued and surpassed multiple estimates of worst-case scenarios. Harvey is now recognized as the wettest in the history of the continental US and in some areas rainfall has surpassed the average annual totals in less than a week. Many experts are now referring to Harvey as a 1,000-year flood, meaning the likelihood of an event like this occurring is only once in 1,000 years.