The dynamic Texas economy has been leading the way in job creation and opportunities. At the same time, future performance hinges on the ability to meet demand for workers in the midst of substantial demographic challenges. In fact, despite record numbers of people working in the state, there are presently around 800,000 unfilled jobs in Texas. We recently looked at the need for employees by occupation over the next 10 years based on our projections of economic growth by industry.
About 2.5 million Texas voters recently approved 13 Constitutional Amendments. Several of the propositions involve notable and much-needed investments, while others relate to tax relief and other topics. On the same night, scores of local elections saw the passage of substantial bond packages providing billions of dollars to build and upgrade public school facilities.
Every three years, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System releases results of the Survey of Consumer Finances. The Survey looks at family income, net worth, debt, and other indicators of the financial health of US families. The most recent report covers the interesting time period from 2019 (just before the COVID-19 pandemic) to 2022. Let's explore a few interesting findings.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how most people born in Texas stay in Texas. According to Census data, over 82% of people born in Texas and still living in the United States have remained here (as of 2021). The Texas proportion of people staying put is considerably higher than any other state. This week, let's look at things from other directions.
The US Energy Information Administration recently released its long-term projections for global fuel demand. The International Energy Outlook 2023 (IEO2023) looks at long-term energy trends across the world through 2050. It includes seven scenarios with widely varying assumptions regarding economic growth, zero-carbon technology costs, and oil prices. Of particular relevance to the Texas economy, every case indicates higher worldwide consumption of oil and natural gas in 2050 than in 2022.
Many types of infrastructure, including electricity and telephones, started out as luxuries but quickly became essential as deployment spread. Just a few years ago, broadband internet access was viewed as a convenience. Mediocre speeds were sufficient for most tasks, and anything beyond that only came in handy to allow movies to stream with fewer glitches. That time, however, has long passed.
The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for this year has been awarded to American Claudia Goldin of Harvard University for her work in explaining changes in women's earnings and participation in the labor market. Dr. Goldin examined more than 200 years of data (much of it gathered through painstaking sleuthing through obscure sources) to identify the causes of changes and the primary forces behind the lingering gender pay gap.
Texas has been selected as the site of a major new federal initiative aimed at improving health. The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) is tasked with supporting biomedical and health breakthroughs. The agency has chosen three hubs (Texas, Cambridge, and Washington DC). Dallas will host the Customer Experience Hub, with Austin, Houston, and San Antonio also heavily involved. A collaboration among these cities and a wide array of business and community leaders across the state provided the impetus for Texas to secure this vital project. I was pleased to be involved in the process, and my firm generated underlying data and analysis to support the effort.
Household debt in the United States is at an all-time high - more than $17 trillion. Of that amount, the lion's share, almost $12.4 trillion, is for housing, and credit card obligations recently topped $1 trillion. These are big numbers, and they are rising. The question is whether they are a cause for concern. The short answer is "not really" given current conditions, though there are some underlying issues which bear watching.
More than any other state, people born in Texas stay in Texas. The US Bureau of the Census recently released data indicating the state of residence by place of birth. When you look at the percentage of people born in Texas, still living in the United States and, in fact, still living in Texas, you get more than 82% as of 2021. That's considerably higher than anywhere else.