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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Secret Recipe? The Driving Force for the Tenacious Texas Job Market

By Rand Stephens (Houston)

It has become common knowledge that the Texas job market is unmatched in its tenacity. Countless statistics can be quoted, but let’s be candid about what is really going on.  For example, I recently heard that a golf tournament's Calcutta pot at a country club in Midland/Odessa, TX, the epicenter of the Permian Basin, was over $600,000.  This harkens back to the area’s glory days in the 1950s when there were more millionaires per square mile than anywhere else in the country.  This is also far removed from the 1980s oil crash, when the local banks in the area were offering a new toaster or an oil rig as an incentive for opening a new bank account.

The Permian Basin is definitely experiencing renewed growth due to fracking technology, but Texas is bustling from El Paso to Beaumont.  When driving Houston’s industrial areas, one facility and yard after another is full of machinery, pipes, fabricating materials and cranes as demand for oilfield services has become so prevalent.  In addition to the energy industry, another major contributor to Houston’s employment success is the Texas Medical Center, which has now hit 10 million visitors per year. Facilities are expanding and the demand for medical professionals is on the rise. 

In the state capital, every major tech company is establishing a presence and expanding thus rightly garnishing the name, Silicon Hills. Austin has been heavily influenced by West coast culture and, as a result, has created a unique city culture that is all its own.   

While Houston is the global center for the energy industry and Austin a technology hub, Dallas is the center for the southwest region and is experiencing strong growth in distribution and financial services.

Think-tank members from the East and West Coasts have been visiting Texas to discover the “secret recipe” for job growth and sustainability.   It is simple and a formula that other states are starting to emulate:  Texas politicians let the private sector lead the public sector…not the other way around.

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