Canaries were historically used in coal mines to provide an early warning of dangerous gases. The CNBC rankings, where Texas continues to fall, should be viewed in a similar light. Two years ago, I referred to Texas falling to fourth as "eerily disturbing," a remark that received considerably more attention than I anticipated. Last year, the state dropped to fifth, and in the newest rankings fell out of the top five, trailing North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and Minnesota.
The number of prime working age persons (those aged 25 to 54) in the United States has never been higher. Simultaneously, there are labor shortages and about 9.8 million job openings. Various factors have been blamed, including the "Great Resignation" and low labor force participation rates. Not exactly!
Texas reached a notable milestone according to the latest release of US Census Bureau population data - the Lone Star State's Hispanic racial/ethnic group is now the largest. According to the July 2022 estimates, Hispanics comprise 40.2% of the population, while the second largest group (non-Hispanic white) is 39.8%. The state is also adding almost 1,300 people a day. That's more than my hometown had when I was growing up (or at least having my first 18 birthdays).
Although remote work was a notable and growing segment of overall employment before the pandemic, COVID-19 dramatically ramped up the process. During the worst of the shutdowns, it was often either that or nothing (unless one was an "essential" worker). While many have since returned to offices, the way we work has fundamentally changed.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the relatively smooth functioning of the supply chain was something most people rarely thought of and took for granted. In fact, few could even tell you what the phrase meant. The global health crisis, which shut down large segments of the economy for an extended period, severely disrupted the vast array of resources, firms, workers, technology, and transportation that forms the complex web of activity essential to the creation and distribution of products. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and various other events (including a fire in a massive South Korean chip plant) only made things worse.
It's Adam Smith's 300th birthday (June 5th, 16th, or 18th, depending on the calendar that you choose)! He was one of history's most influential thinkers, basically articulating the framework of capitalism. It's a moment worthy of reflection.
The Texas economy has perennially been among the strongest performing, winning virtually every accolade for economic development superiority multiple times. While there are myriad reasons for this prowess, one key factor is effective strategies and policies to encourage locations and expansions. The state leads the nation in job creation and has had the most major corporate investments (by a wide margin) for over a decade. Incentives are certainly not the only consideration, but are often the tipping point for success.
Although the numbers are temporarily decreasing as growth moderates and uncertainty rises, there remain about 9.6 million job openings across the country. Employers of all types and sizes are affected by labor shortages, with major challenges in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care and social assistance. We presently need 1.6 million health care and social assistance workers and 1.3 million accommodation and food services employees.
Since 2013, the Federal Reserve has conducted an annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED), which seeks to measure the economic wellbeing of US households. In October 2022, 11,000 adults across the country were asked a variety of questions about their financial situations. Let's examine some of the most telling results.
The very mention of "Texas" conjures vivid images of wide-open spaces, gushers, cattle drives, cotton fields, and other stuff of legends. Despite this enduring legacy, a growing majority of population and economic activity is concentrated in metropolitan areas. Nonetheless, the rural parts of the state are generating a notable component of overall growth and, in the process, providing much of the fuel, food, and fiber that sustains us. Let's focus on my roots and this key segment of Texas.