Texas economy

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The State of Texas has revealed a program that offers incentives to residents who purchase or lease cars that use alternative fuels. This state is offering a $2,500 cash back deal two Texans who decide to buy green automobiles.

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Businesses in the Lone Star State are growing increasingly worried that President Trump's “America first” economic policies might do harm to trade between Texas and Mexico.

As the BBC reports, Texas industry leaders are worried that Trump’s hostility toward the North American Free Trade Agreement could cut into profits and lead to job losses.

From Texas Standard.

Ford announced recently that it will stop making most of its sedans, because the money is in trucks and SUVs. But now, gas prices are climbing, after four or five years without a significant increase. Like everyone who drives, and even those who travel by other means, Texans feel the impact of higher gas prices right in the wallet. But here, there’s a bit of a silver lining, because so much of the economy, and even the government’s coffers, rely on oil revenue. But with the Texas economy more diverse than ever, what does $3-a-gallon gas mean, on balance?

Texas has long been known as an economic powerhouse among states, but High Plains residents may not be aware of just how powerful the Lone Star State is on the world stage.

According to a new editorial in Forbes, the economy of Texas dwarfs that of Russia, which is by far the largest country in the world by area.

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Credit rating agencies recently sent a warning to the Lone Star State: If Texas doesn’t get its spending under control, including its overstretched obligations in the areas of public education, pensions, transportation and health care, then the state’s credit rating will be downgraded.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson / The Texas Tribune

Texas is among several states that will bar teachers, dentists, nurses and other professional license holders from renewing their licenses if they are in default on their student loans. Critics say the practice is counterproductive, since it impedes Texans’ ability to work and pay back those loans.

From The Texas Tribune:

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Craft brewers in the state of Texas are growing increasingly incensed at the way the state government has been treating their industry.

As the San Antonio Express-News reports, Brewers must face a labyrinthine set of laws if they hope to successfully run their businesses in the state. For example, if a craft brew pub wants to sell products from other beer makers, that's illegal. They can, however, sell wine or cider from other makers.

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After steady gains over much of last year, Texas employment growth appears to have stalled last month.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, the Lone Star State only added 400 jobs in December, after gaining nearly 54,000 in November and more than 67,000 in October. That puts the state unemployment rate at 3.9 percent, slightly higher than November’s record low of 3.8.

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Texas isn’t quite as special these days as it has been for most of this new century, claims a new editorial in the Dallas Morning News.

The state, notes the contributor Richard Parker, “has burned brightly since the beginning of the century.”

But now that bright Lone Star is cooling off. Parker is careful to note that the state’s changing fortunes don’s so much signal a downturn as “a leveling off.”

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A group of Texas congressmen is asking the White House to reconsider its plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

According to The Houston Chronicle, the lawmakers are worried that the Trump team’s plans to overhaul the trade deal could permanently damage the complex network of energy agreements between Canada, the United States and Mexico.

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The recent resurgence of Texas oil markets is causing some Texas prison guards to leave their jobs for the more lucrative work in the oilfields.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, in the last year alone, the state prison system has seen a remarkable 28 percent turnover rate.

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In recent months, the rent-to-own furniture industry has gained attention in Texas. State officials have accused the industry, and especially the rent-to-own behemoth Rent-A-Center, of using deceptive and abusive practices against customers.

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The Lone Star State has been attracting droves of new Texans each year, newcomers who are attracted to the state’s low tax rates and plentiful sunshine. Meanwhile, Texas has a lower percentage of residents moving away than any other state.

Reynaldo Leal / The Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

The president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas told business leaders that unemployment and education should be viewed apolitically to avoid risking Texas and the rest of the country becoming less competitive.

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It’s been called the “Texas Miracle,” the notion that the Texas economy can weather any storm and will continue to sail smoothly while other states flounder.

But now, according to a prominent expert on the Texas economy, that miracle may have come to an end.

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A new Texas law will allow shop clerks to decline a purchase if the shopper doesn’t show a valid ID when paying with a credit or debit card.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the idea behind the law is to reduce credit card fraud.

However, some merchants have contracts with credit card companies that disallow them from rejecting a sale based on improper identification. In those cases, the contract will supersede the law.

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Texas now leads the nation in job growth, according to new numbers from the Texas Workforce Commission.

As The Dallas Morning-News reports, the Lone Star State’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.6 percent, which puts Texas slightly higher than the national rate of 4.4 percent. However, Texas performed better than most of the country.

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In a new report, the top scientists in Texas have concluded that the hydraulic drilling process known as fracking pollutes the air, erodes soil and contaminates water.

As the San Antonio Express-News reports, the report also confirmed other studies that have found that wastewater disposal from fracking can lead to seismic activity.

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Tourism officials in Texas are decrying funding cuts made by the statelLegislature and approved by Gov. Greg Abbott as part of the official state budget.

As The San Antonio Express-News reports, state lawmakers slashed the tourism budget in half this year, dropping funding levels from $68 million down to $34 million.

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When it comes to labor force growth and rates of certain crimes, Amarillo doesn’t measure up to similar cities, according to a new study reported by The Amarillo Globe-News.

The study, from a group called Avalanche Consulting, found that Amarillo has more violent crime and property crime than comparable cities like Lubbock, Chattanooga, and Rochester, Minnesota.

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

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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.

Mark Sterkel / Odessa American

The Texas economy is expected to pick up in 2017, say analysts, though the growth may be modest.

As the Austin American-Statesman reports, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas expects the labor and economy markets in the Lone Star State to grow a bit sunnier this year.

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Texas companies saw an increase in consumer spending over the month of December.

As The Dallas Morning News reports, economists are attributing the uptick to what they’re calling a “Trump bump.”

They say consumers are relieved that the election has ended, and they’re opening their wallets as a result. Many Texans also feel confident in how President-Elect Donald Trump will handle the economy.

Lisa Krantz / San Antonio Express News

Texas employers added almost 14,000 jobs last month, according to the latest report from the Texas Workforce Commission.

Over the past year, the Lone Star State has added almost 210,000 jobs to its job-rolls, reinforcing the resiliency of the Texas economy.

Eric Kayne / The Wall Street Journal

The Lone Star State has long been seen as a boon to the U.S. economy. But as of late, reports The Wall Street Journal, Texas has become a drag on the nation’s fortunes.

It wasn’t long ago that the state’s energy resources helped keep the U.S afloat. The boom was led, in large part, by the fracking revolution. But ever since the collapse in oil prices, Texas job growth has become stagnant. And Texas has become something of an albatross.

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The Lone Star State was, for the most part, less impacted by recent economic downturns than other states. Strong recovery in the services and construction sectors helped to keep the state afloat during hard times.

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For the first time in 12 years, Texas job creation has been lagging behind the rest of the nation. The numbers come from a new study by the Austin non-profit Texas Taxpayers and Research Association. “The ‘Texas Miracle,’ as our state’s nation-leading economic engine has been dubbed, is currently on ice,” said Dale Craymer, the author of the report.

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As the oil recession continues, some are beginning to wonder if this setback could turn into a full-fledged oil bust like the one that deeply wounded many Texas small-town economies. Communities across the western part of the Lone Star State are seeing businesses shutter as jobs are cut and production is slashed. As the Texas Observer reports, towns in the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford and Barnett shale regions are seeing unemployment rates rise.

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Falling oil prices have caused many economic woes for West Texas. But the news isn’t all bleak, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2016 Forecast, this year Texas restaurateurs should expect to see a 3.8-percent increase in sales. That will bring total revenue up over $52 billion for the year.

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