HPPR Economy and Enterprise

Agriculture:
crop production
crop irrigation
livestock production
dairy production
research & development

Energy
oil & gas production
wind energy
biofuels production
food processing
manufacturing

Transportation & telecommunications
rail service
air service
highways
internet service

Economic indicators & conditions:
workforce demographics
employment rates
land values
tax collections

Entrepreneurship:
small business development
technology application
innovation

William Luther / San Antonio Express News

Unemployment numbers for April have been released, and Texas added over 30,000 new jobs on the month, reports the San Antonio Express-News.

That means the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month held steady at five percent. Meanwhile in Oklahoma, the rate remained unchanged at 4.3 percent, despite the Sooner State shedding 2,500 jobs last month. 

Creative Commons

The unemployment rate in Kansas dropped slightly as neighboring Colorado’s unemployment rate dropped to a record low last month.

According to the Wichita Eagle, preliminary estimates from the Kansas Department of Labor showed Kansas’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 3.8 percent in March to 3.7 percent in April.

Jonathan Baker

Housing demand in Amarillo is outpacing supply, reports The Amarillo Globe-News.

Jinger White, the chairman of the Amarillo Association of Realtors, says the city has a lower inventory of available homes than he’s seen in his 15 years of selling homes in the Yellow City.

“If you’re selling,” he said, “it’s a good thing. If you’re buying, it’s a bad thing.”

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

For years Oklahoma’s oil companies have insisted they’re missing out on huge profits due to a law that prevents horizontal drilling more than a mile long. Producers have tantalized state lawmakers with indications that altering the law would fill the state’s coffers—an attractive proposition giving the state’s budget gap of almost $900 million.

Fire recovery meeting offered in Ashland

May 5, 2017
Sandra J. Milburn / The Hutchinson News

Creating a fire response and recovery plan is the focus of a two-day meeting scheduled May 9-10 in Ashland as the region continues to regroup after a massive spring wildfire.

The workshop will be led by Ranching for Profit owner Dave Pratt, a well-known consultant whose thought-provoking style has helped hundreds of ranchers think through and plan for a more profitable future.

New high-paying jobs could be on Amarillo's horizon

May 3, 2017
FINDYOURSPOT.COM

Amarillo’s economy is set to get a big boost.

As ABC7 Amarillo reports, hundreds of high paying jobs are likely headed to Amarillo, following approval by the Amarillo City Council Tuesday of an incentive package for Maxor National Pharmacy Services to create positions.

Marion Doss / Flickr Creative Commons

In recent eras, America’s big cities grappled with large numbers of young people who weren’t in school and didn’t have jobs.

Wikimedia Commons

Northern Colorado agriculture producers are struggling to find U.S. workers.

As the Greeley Tribune reports, there aren’t enough U.S. workers who will do the labor-intensive work required by the agriculture industry, as many have moved to other labor-intensive industries like oil or construction.

Cargill

Cargill is selling its cattle feed yards in Leoti, Kansas and Yuma, Colorado to Green Plains.

According to a press release issued by Cargill on Wednesday, the company has reached an agreement to sell its beef cattle feed yards in Leoti and Yuma to Omaha-based Green Plains Inc., an ethanol producer with existing feed yards in Kismet, Kansas and Hereford, Texas.

Podcast seeks to stoke interest in cowboy poetry

Apr 23, 2017
CC0 Public Domain

In the first 20 years following the Civil War, cowboys who drove cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas, would improvise poems and songs as a means of fighting boredom on the trail. And that is how cowboy poetry was born.

A new podcast called Cowboy Crossroads is helping to keep that rich tradition alive.

Lorne Matalon / Marfa Public Radio

Mexico is considering a boycott of corn from the United States, in response to repeated economic threats made by President Donald Trump, reports Texas Standard.

Jennifer Carlson / Wink Threadings Salon

Becoming a licensed hairstylist may soon be a much easier prospect in Texas, if the state Legislature has its way.

As The Texas Tribune reports, three new bills would make the process of obtaining a cosmetology license in the Lone Star State much less arduous.

San Antonio Express News

After a staggering downturn in the state’s oil and gas fortunes over the past few years, Texas appears to be entering what look to be better days ahead, reports the San Antonio Express-News.  

Creative Commons CC0

Despite pushback from several people who testified in favor of a bill that would prevent oil and gas producers from drilling wells within 1,000 feet of school property lines and extend setbacks for oil and gas activity was struck down last week by the Colorado Senate.

As the Denver Post reports, Senators on Wednesday voted 5-6 against House Bill 1256.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

A new tractor often costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, but not included in that price: the right to repair it. That has put farmers on the front lines of a battle pitting consumers against the makers of all kinds of consumer goods, from tractors to refrigerators to smart phones.  

Modern tractors, essentially, have two keys to make the engine work. One key starts the engine. Today’s tractors are high-tech machines that can steer themselves by satellite, so there is another key – a software key – to get into the programs that make a tractor run properly.

West Texas oil production has pushed the value of the region’s spot crude to its lowest discount to the U.S. oil benchmark in nearly two years, as the shale industry continues pumping more to take advantage of higher prices and demand from refiners who have seen supplies cut by top global producers.

Guy Montag / Flickr Creative Commons

Canada’s dairy policies may be hurting rural America,  AgNetWest reports.

In response, some U.S. dairies are lobbying the Trump administration to fight the policies, which they’ve labeled as protectionist.

According to the U.S. dairy farmers, America’s neighbor to the north is not honoring its trade agreements when it comes to milk and cheese, by adding difficulties for American dairy exports.

CC0 Public Domain

As farmers face their fourth straight year of declining incomes, soybeans are offering a glimmer of hope.

As Reuters reports, China’s demand for soybeans is providing a narrow path of profitability for U.S. farmers but fierce competition to supply China threatens the bottom line for U.S. growers, and 2017 prices, which are slightly higher than 2016 prices, are still projected to be 50 cents per bushel lower than they were three years ago.

Sandra J. Milburn / Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

One attribute that Colby Harner inherited from his father and grandfather is hard work.

The 25-year-old takes pride in this. It’s why he followed in their footsteps and became a farmer. He enjoys the work of raising crops and cattle, then reaping the harvest of his labor. 

But right now, eking out a living on the farm is even harder - especially for the young operator.

Tim Nauman / The Wichita Eagle

This week Kansas will dedicate two new wind farms, one in Kingman County and one in Pratt County, reports The Wichita Eagle.

Together, the two farms will generate 400 megawatts of electricity—enough to power 100,000 homes. That’s enough clean energy to power five cities the size of Hays, Kansas.

Most of the power will fall under the purview of Westar Energy, which also recently completed a large wind farm in Ford County.

Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

TOPEKA – Legislation enabling farmers eventually to obtain a license to plant industrial hemp passed the Kansas House on Monday morning, 103-18, with four members not voting.

Senate approval is needed, but bill proponent Rep. Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, was happy and hopeful.

“This is a very big deal for Kansas,” Dove said. All Kansas farmers want is a chance to compete, he said.

Houston Chronicle

Perhaps more than any other state, President Donald Trump has shown an affinity for the policies and politicians of the Lone Star State. He’s installed Texans like Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson in his cabinet, and his low-tax, anti-regulation attitude is closely aligned with the philosophy of Texans like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

It begs the question: Does Trump want to make America like Texas?

Jeroen Bennink / Flickr Creative Commons

Hackers have gained access to the records of hundreds of thousands of jobseekers who used an employment website run by the State of Oklahoma, reports NewsOK.

The security breach occurred on the website OKJobMatch.com, and authorities say 430,000 people’s information may have been compromised. The hacked information includes names, birthdays and Social Security numbers.

Shelley Zumwalt, a spokeswoman in the Gov. Mary Fallin's office, said anyone who’s ever accessed the site is probably vulnerable.

KVII

Sales tax receipts were down slightly in Amarillo in January, according to the latest numbers from the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation.

Wikipedia

Three major dairy groups were in Mexico last week trying to repair strained relationships between the U.S. and Mexico on trade.

According to Farm Journal’s Milk, some Mexican dairy leaders question President Donald Trump’s recent policies on immigration and his desire to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.  

Steve Sisney / The Oklahoman

The craft beer trend has hit Oklahoma in a big way, reports The Oklahoman.

A few years ago, Oklahoma only had one brewery. Now, the Sooner State boasts 15 breweries--and some of them are gaining national attention.

American Solera was recently honored with a “Best New Brewery in the U.S.” award. And, at February’s Best of Craft Beer Awards held in Bend, Oregon, Anthem Brewing Co. took home a number of awards. Meanwhile, in Europe back in 2010, the Oklahoma brewery known simply as “Choc” won several awards.

Oil prices fell below the $50-per-barrel-mark Tuesday following a hike in oil production by Saudi Arabia.

As Business Insider reports, West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, fell to $47.43 per barrel as of Tuesday morning. Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, was at $50.48 per barrel. Both were at their lowest prices since November.

Elvert Barnes / Flickr Creative Commons

Almost a quarter million immigrants call Oklahoma home, and they play an important role in the state’s economy, according to a new study.

As NewsOK reports, these immigrants make up over 20 percent of the state's workforce, and many hold specialized knowledge in career fields like health care, science and technology. Others keep the state economy humming by working in manufacturing, housekeeping, fabrication and landscaping.

In rural Trump Country, trade policy divides

Mar 14, 2017
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

This story is part of the special series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

Rural voters overwhelmingly chose President Donald Trump in the presidential election. But when it comes to the central campaign promise to get tough on trade, rural voters are not necessarily in sync with the administration.

US Census Bureau / Sacramento Bee

California appears to be sending many of its poorer residents to Texas, while taking in wealthier residents from other states, according to The Sacramento Bee.

In the first fifteen years of this century, California lost more people than it gained. But a closer look at the numbers shows an economic trend: The people leaving the Golden State tended to be poorer, and many lacked college degrees.

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