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Willisms

« June 2011 | WILLisms.com | August 2011 »

Five Truly Amazing Facts About The Texas Economy

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 937 -- Since 2006, Texas Adds 2.75 Times More New Jobs Than All Other States Combined-

In this post, there are five truly amazing facts about the Texas economy. They're all recapped at the end, so don't have an anxiety attack if you miss them.

Between June 2006 and June 2011, only nine states plus Washington, DC added any net new non-farm jobs. Of the adders over that period, Texas added 2.75 times more new jobs than the others combined:

june06-11.png
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Texas is the big winner in On Numbers’ midyear analysis of employment trends.

Texas added 537,500 nonfarm jobs between June 2006 and June 2011, based on the latest seasonally adjusted figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

That’s nearly 10 times larger than the second-biggest increase by any state over the five-year span, Louisiana’s gain of 55,900 nonfarm jobs. North Dakota was third with a raw increase of 41,700.

Texas added 73.4% of the nation's net new non-farm jobs since 2006, nearly ten times more than that of second place Louisiana, and more than one-hundred times the figure of barely-positive New York (the lone blue state with a net gain over the past five years).

Indeed, these numbers are staggering:

texasvsusa.png

Over this same period, California lost a net 1,009,400 jobs.

The most common "rebuttal," if you can call it that, from the left, is that Texas only added a bunch of minimum wage jobs, so none of the facts above really count, somehow. The problem with that argument is that Texas has outpaced the nation in wage growth, as well. Texas is also number one in new manufacturing jobs, new aerospace jobs, new energy jobs, new professional and business services jobs, new finance jobs, and new construction jobs.

Since the recession officially "ended" and "recovery" began in June of 2009, Texas has added exactly as many jobs as all other states combined:

From June 2009 to June 2011 the state added 262,000 jobs, or half the USA's 524,000 payroll gains, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even by a more conservative estimate that omits states with net job losses, Texas' advances make up 30% of the 1 million additions in the 34 states with net growth.

....

Economists point to an array of factors, including high energy prices that set off an oil-drilling frenzy, rising exports and a conservative banking industry that helped the state sidestep the housing crash.

Yet while energy has been a spark — employment in natural gas, oil and other mining sectors rose by 45,000, or 23%, since the recession ended — growth has been broad-based. During the past two years, professional and business services added 74,000 jobs; education and health care gained 91,000; and leisure and hospitality grew by 29,000, according to BLS.

Hear that, naysayers? Texas' "growth has been broad-based." Meanwhile, Texas, already the nation's number one exporting state, saw exports rise 21% compared to 15% for the nation as a whole (which includes Texas; the gap would be larger if not for Texas being included in the national figures). Texas accounts for about 8% of the U.S. population but 16.5% of our nation's exports.

Is it any wonder, then, that so many Americans are clamoring for Texas Governor Rick Perry to jump into the race for the White House and save our nation from the disaster that is Obamanomics?

So, about those five amazing facts. Here they are:

1. Over the past five years, Texas has added 275% more net new jobs than all other job-adding states combined.

2. Since 2006, Texas has added well over 100 times more net new jobs than New York has added.

3. Texas is where 537,500, or 73.4%, of America's net new jobs have been created over the past five years; this figure is nearly ten times greater than the second place Louisiana (55,900, or 7.6% of America's total).

4. Since the recession "ended" in 2009, Texas has added exactly as many net new jobs as the rest of America combined.

5. Texas accounts for only about 8% of the nation's population but 16.5% of U.S. exports.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Debt Second Lowest Per Capita In America.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 26 July 2011 09:17 AM · Comments (0)

The USDA's Food Deserts? More Like A Mirage.

Dr. David Gratzer at the Washington Examiner picked up on the Federal Government's "food desert" map:

13.5 million Americans are supposedly McVictimized by food deserts. That's less than 4.5 percent of the U.S. population, yet roughly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.

You don't need a Ph.D. in mathematics to understand that food deserts are, at best, a very small aspect of a vast problem.

A few months ago, the USDA released a glitzy online map charting the location of every food desert in America. Urbanist blogger Angie Schmitt was baffled to find her home at the edge of a Cleveland food desert, even though she's "never had better access to food in [her] life."

The explanation: She lives near a successful, family-run grocery. But the USDA bureaucracy defines "access to fresh food" as access to a large supermarket with more than $2 million in annual sales.

Neighborhood bodegas? Family grocers? Produce markets? None of them count, whether they stock fresh food or not.

It got me thinking. I have a real abundance of food choices near where I live. Farmers Markets, mega-chains like Target and Wal-Mart, Texas-based chains like HEB. Central Market grocery stores, which are part of the HEB family. Randall's. Fiesta. Whole Foods has its headquarters and flagship store here. A new "waste-free" grocery store called in.gredients is opening soon. There are small grocery stores that specialize in organic produce or meat.

There's no way, I thought, that the core of Austin has any of these "Food Deserts," defined by the USDA as "low-income census tracts where a large number of residents are more than a mile from a grocery store."

First off, it's true that Austin's core does have ample numbers of jobless (or underjobbed) hipsters, students, and recent UT graduates, but generally real estate in the core of Austin is pricey, jobs are good, and people are well off. Secondly, as noted above, Austin is a foodie paradise. Not only do we have an abundance of food trailers experimenting and innovating, among the best Tex-Mex and BBQ you'll find anywhere, and some of the more groundbreaking chefs in the country, we're ground-zero for what you might call the modern grocery store "experience."

So, I looked at the USDA's Food Deserts map, and sure enough, Austin has wastelands all throughout its core, according to bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.:

fooddeserts.gif

Okay, a five second google search of "Austin, TX grocery stores" turns up a plethora of grocery options:

grocerystores.gif

Now, some of those red dots are certainly exactly the kind of nefarious places the USDA is trying to call out. 7-11, QuickMart, gas stations, etc. But there are far more legitimate grocery options than just those labeled with letters. Among those not marked with a letter:
-Sun Harvest (soon to be Sprouts), a grocery store with a fantastic produce selection.
-Central Market, one of the better grocery stores you'll ever visit.
-Royal Blue Grocery (three of them), which offer groceries, sandwiches, and more, right in the heart of busy downtown corridors.
-Farm to Market Grocery, a robust spot right in the heart of one of the USDA's pink "desert" zones.
-Fresh Plus Grocery, which is exactly what you'd think of if I said "neighborhood grocery store."
-Phoenicia Bakery & Deli, which is really more of a grocery store than the name might indicate.

Not to mention a few bustling Farmers Markets which set up around town each weekend, or specialty Mexican meat markets, Asian groceries, and so forth.

I could go on.

Austin's central core is the furthest thing from a food desert that you can imagine. Central Austin is a Foodie Delight. There are few places in America with such variety and diversity of cheap and high end, healthy and hangover, ethnic and 'merican, chain and mom and pop, cuisine, all throughout town. Austin invented Whole Foods, for pete's sake. Sure, there are places all over America with their own amazing food. Chinatowns, Little Italies, Polishtowns-- there are some unique ethnic food districts in cities all over the country, with markets that sell rare items you can't readily find in American supermarkets, and Austin doesn't have anything that holds a candle to those vast, specialized districts. But, there's no place in America with such a dense and rich variety of grocery stores and other fresh food vendors than Austin. There may be no "Foodier" town than the core of Austin, Texas. The data back me up on this.

Which brings us back to the United States Department of Agriculture. How many tax dollars did they waste on this ridiculous "Food Desert" map? What is their aim in misrepresenting food options in urban centers?

Dr. Gratzer explains:

As first lady Michelle Obama explained last March, "families wind up buying their groceries at the local gas station or convenience store, places that offer few, if any, healthy options."

In the war against obesity, irrigating the food desert has become a priority. From New York to Chicago to L.A., it's become a focus of city initiatives, and the federal budget earmarks nearly $400 million to eliminate the problem.

So they're spending half a billion dollars trying to rectify a problem that doesn't exist, all while justifying their useless pork with "data" and "maps" that don't pass the smell test.

Posted by Will Franklin · 21 July 2011 01:26 PM · Comments (4)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 936 -- Texas Debt Second Lowest Per Capita In America.

Texas Debt-

Texas' state debt is the second lowest per capita in America:

texas-second-lowest.gif

More here.


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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Unemployment So Much Higher Than It Appears Due To People Dropping Out Of The Workforce.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 13 July 2011 02:29 PM · Comments (2)

Video Infographic: Higher Education Reform.

Some startling data on the need for higher ed reform in Texas and beyond:

Check out Rock The Ivory Tower on Facebook and Twitter.

UPDATE:
More stats from EmpowerTexans:

Since 2004... tuition at The University of Texas at Austin has increased 40%, from $3,500/semester to $4,897/semester! That’s over twice the rate of US inflation over the same time. My own tuition over the course of my career at UT has increased by 15%, from $4,677/semester in the fall of 2008 to $5,369/semester in the fall of 2011, triple the rate of inflation over the same time.

So it’s the Legislature’s fault for not appropriating more money, right? Wrong.
Adjusted for inflation, the state budget has steadily appropriated approximately $6,000 per student to statewide universities from 1970 to 2007, yet over the same time the average operating cost per student spiked from $10,655 in 1991 to $17,506 in 2007 (a 64.1% increase).

Where is all this added cost coming from?

Part of it is the out-of-control salary increases for faculty and administration. In 1999, the statewide average professor salary was $70,864. In 2009, the average was $106,311 (a 50% increase). The highest professor salary at UT-Austin was $140,542 in 1999 -- 10 years later it grew 172.5% to $382,948.

An Associated Press study also found that the budget for administration at UT-Austin alone rose from $5.9 million to $8.2 million (a 40% increase) from 2004 to 2008.

Posted by Will Franklin · 11 July 2011 03:00 PM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 935 -- Workforce Participation (Or, The Lack Thereof) Masking Real Unemployment.

States Can Decide What Works For Themselves-

Jim Pethokoukis tweeted out a number about the American economy this morning that was particularly startling:


JimPethokoukis.gif

"11.4%: The unemployment rate if labor force was as big as it was when Obama took office in 2009"

Texanomics has looked at this phenomenon and noted that Texas' labor force has grown by leaps and bounds, while the U.S. labor force has shrunk (I sometimes modify their graphs a bit, so go check out the originals over there at Texanomics):

texaslaborforcegrowing.gif

So, those droves of people moving to Texas: they're coming here looking for work. Not all are finding it right away, of course, which drives up the Texas unemployment rate, but Texas has created more new private sector jobs than all other 49 states over the past decade.

Last month, Texanomics also looked at what unemployment rates would be like in various states, including Texas, if labor forces had held steady at the "recovery" point of June 2009:

April+UR+adjusted+for+Labor+Force+Growth.gif

It's a little hard to read, shrunk-down like this, so go check out the original post. More explanation:

Texas' fast growing labor force is increasingly comprised of people fleeing other states to search for new opportunities in Texas. Indeed, the Texas labor force has continued to steadily grow even as more than 750,000 Americans have dropped out of the labor force since the beginning of 2009.

And so while the US unemployment rate has dropped half a percentage point over the past year, that is attributable almost entirely to people dropping out of the labor force, not robust job growth. Meanwhile, in Texas, the employment growth has been strong, but the unemployment rate masks that because there is actually a growing labor force.

The above chart takes one approach at adjusting April 2011 unemployment rates for the labor force changes in the five largest states and the United States as a whole. Basically, we took April 2011 employment and divided it by the June 2009 labor force in each state, since June 2009 is referred to by many as the start of the "recovery".

So, if labor forces had held steady since June of 2009, Texas' unemployment rate would be much lower and America's would be much higher.

While the Obamanomics has killed millions of jobs and generally put America in a deep, deep rut, with no sign of it getting better anytime soon, Texas has remained resilient. From May 2006 to May 2011, Texas added more jobs than all other states combined:

texasjobgrowthmay2006throughmay2011.gif

And Texas, under Governor Rick Perry's time in office, has also created more new private sector jobs, in net terms, than all other states combined:

texasownstheusa.gif
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It's no wonder, then, that people are asking whether Obama would stand a chance against Rick Perry, should he ultimately decide to run for President.

The real question, then, becomes how much worse would Obama's economy look without Texas? And how much better could Texas be doing without Obama?

For the number crunchers out there, I may or may not get around to this soon, but wouldn't it be interesting to figure the current Obama unemployment rate, minus Texas, based on workforce levels when Barack Obama came into office?

Yes, the national unemployment rate is officially 9.2%, but it is really so much worse:

heritage-job-disaster.gif

The average unemployed worker has been without work for 39.7 weeks (nine months)—the longest since the government began keeping track in 1948.

Even with strong economic growth, it will take time for unemployment to return to normal levels. If employers add an average of 260,000 net jobs per month—the rate the payroll survey showed during the late 1990s tech bubble—then unemployment will not return to its natural rate until August 2014.

If employers add 216,000 net new jobs per month—the rate the household survey showed in 1997, the year of the greatest job growth in the tech bubble—unemployment will return to its natural rate in October 2015.

We're fortunate people aren't wielding torches and pitchforks with these kinds of soul-numbing numbers. This is depressing data for America, and, based on my grocery and restaurant bills of late, inflation is here after, really, decades of being tamed. Indeed, the misery index is on the rise:

obamamiseryindex.gif

These misery index figures, in the twelves, are at levels not seen since Reagan took over from Jimmy Carter.

Obama will be a one-term President.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Winning Among Laboratories Of Democracy.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 8 July 2011 11:30 AM · Comments (5)