The Outlook for the Texas Economy
Column Published in syndication May 26, 2021

With COVID-19 cases continuing to fall and vaccination rates rising, things are beginning to feel a bit more normal. The economy is growing, and the outlook remains positive as the health crisis abates. Here’s a quick look at current conditions and our latest projections for business activity in the state.

The Wrong Answer
Column Published in syndication May 19, 2021

Texas recently opted out of federal unemployment compensation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the $300 weekly supplement. The reason often given is that there are as many job openings as there are Texans receiving benefits, with the implication being that people will now be more eager to enter the workforce.

The Count
Column Published in syndication May 12, 2021

Results from the 2020 Census are beginning to surface. These statistics are far more than a matter of interest. Not only is the number of representatives in the US House tied to the count, but also funds from a variety of federal programs. Trends are also crucial to planning and decision-making across a broad spectrum. While the data is still being compiled and it will be a while before we know the full story (and the inevitable lawsuits that are often settled by adding more people), some patterns are emerging.

Let It Roar!
Column Published in syndication May 05, 2021

In a few speeches and scribblings of late, I have noted that we appear on the cusp of a new Roaring Twenties, similar to that emerging a century ago in the wake of the Spanish flu (hopefully without any expectation that I will master the Charleston). That modest projection inevitably raises the question: "If we roar like the 1920s, will we then fall through the floor like the Great Depression of the 1930s?" The answer is quite simple – No!!

Working Women
Column Published in syndication April 28, 2021

Although the pandemic has spared no one, it has had a disproportionate impact on working women. Over the past year, females have been more likely to leave the workforce due to job losses or conflicts with the added responsibilities surrounding childcare and household sustainability. As the economy recovers, these valuable members of the workforce will be essential. The latest Census numbers make that abundantly clear. Moreover, for many, working is indispensable for financial stability.

Outlook for the US Economy
Column Published in syndication April 21, 2021

The forecast for US economic recovery is improving. In March, 916,000 net new jobs were added across the nation, led by leisure and hospitality, education, and construction. The unemployment rate fell to 6.0%, and the number of unemployed dropped to 9.7 million. Overall, activity is in a much better place than the lows experienced in April 2020, though it has not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

Dollar Votes
Column Published in syndication April 14, 2021

Measures to restrict voter access are under consideration in Texas and elsewhere. Irrespective of politics, such laws have substantial adverse economic consequences. We recently examined this issue in detail. The costs could potentially include billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs over the next few years. (See the full report at www.perrymangroup.com.)

Show Us The Money
Column Published in syndication April 07, 2021

Even before the pandemic, Texas schools faced daunting challenges. About 88% of students were economically disadvantaged. Two ethnic groups that comprised about two-thirds of enrollment (and rapidly growing) held less than 8% of the state's wealth. Many districts had massive infrastructure deficiencies, while others struggled to keep pace with explosive growth. As if that weren't enough, Texas ranked 41st nationally in spending per student.

A Milestone
Column Published in syndication March 31, 2021

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits in the US fell to 684,000 in late March for the first time in a year. Believe it or not, that's important. "Initial claims" sounds like something only an economist could love (and a nerdy one at that). This weekly statistic represents the first filing for unemployment for a specific claim--basically layoffs or jobs that have recently been eliminated. We normally don't pay much attention to it, but it got more headlines during the pandemic as a weekly barometer for how the economy was faring.

A Year Later
Column Published in syndication March 24, 2021

It's now been a year since COVID-19 began to upend the lives of people around the world. The human cost has been tragic, and measures needed to slow the spread of the virus have also taken a toll on mental health and wellbeing. From an economic perspective, the pandemic has caused substantial and, in many cases, catastrophic losses.