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« Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 229 -- Government Spending & GDP. | WILLisms.com | Some Call It A Bonfire (Or Carnival) Of Classiness... »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 230 -- Texas Economy.

Not Just Cattle, Oil, & Cotton, Anymore-

Back in high school in Midland, Texas (MHS Bulldogs), we had an annual prom dating back to 1929 called "Catoico." Catoico was short for "Cattle, Oil, & Cotton." In 1929, those three pillars dominated the Texas economy; even decades later, into the 1980s, those three pillars still dominated the Texas economy. When cattle, oil, and cotton did well, the Texas economy boomed. When cattle, oil, and cotton suffered, the Texas economy bonked.

But today, the Texas economy is as diverse, dynamic, and prosperous as nearly any in the country-- or the world, for that matter. Transportation, telecom, high tech, service, manufacturing, finance, real estate, insurance, health care, mining, retail, construction, education, agriculture, tourism... Texas is no longer a three-trick pony. The energy industry is still important in Texas, but not as important as it was a quarter century ago, when a spike in oil prices was great for Texas but bad for the rest of the country (Dallas Fed, .pdf):

In 1981, oil and gas economic output constituted 20% of the Texas economy; today, that number is only about 6%. In terms of employment, in 1982 oil and gas jobs accounted for 5% of Texas employment; today, only 2% of employed Texans work in the oil and gas industry.

But even economic diversity is no guarantee against cyclical downturns (.pdf):

High-tech production in Texas grew six times as fast as the state’s overall output. During the recession, Texas high-tech manufacturing lost 107,400 jobs, nearly a third of its employment. Even though California started with a higher base and therefore grew less in percentage terms, more jobs were created in Texas. During the buildup, total high-tech manufacturing jobs increased by 47,000 in Texas, while they rose by only 17,000 in California. In semiconductors, for example, California added 22,000 jobs, while Texas added 35,000. Texas also grew faster than the nation in telecom services, adding 50,000 jobs during the ’90s, then losing 30,000 during the recession.

9/11 also hit Texas particularly hard in the transportation sector (think airline headquarters). Of all the jobs lost in Texas in the brief recession earlier this decade, 62% were in either high tech or transportation.

Despite these setbacks, the Texas economy has generally outpaced the U.S. economy in recent decades:


Growth in population and income in Texas has outpaced growth in the United States in recent decades; however, Texas per capita income remains at 94% of the national average (up from 88% in 1969).

Interestingly, from April 2000 to July 2003, 44% (or, 699,685) of Texas' total population growth (1,259,945) was attributable to the natural cycle of more births than deaths. 34% (or, 430,048) of the growth, meanwhile, came from foreign immigration, and 10% (or, 130,212) resulted from migration from other parts of the United States. Texas' population growth over that 3-year period accounted for more than 13% of the overall population growth in the United States.

Diversification seems to have worked well for the Texas economy. Pro-growth, relatively low tax policies didn't hurt, either.

"The Face of Texas: Jobs, People, Business, Change" (.pdf)
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, October 2005.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Government Spending & GDP.

Posted by Will Franklin · 29 November 2005 08:29 AM


Awesome post!...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at November 29, 2005 10:41 AM