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Texas Today 2011: The Lone Star State Leads U.S. Economic Recovery

The Lone Star State has galloped out of recession and is leading the nation in economic growth.

Mark Crawford (March 2011)
It's hard to slow Texas down, even in a bad economy.

The Lone Star State is unquestionably leading U.S. recovery. More than half of U.S. net new jobs created from August 2009-2010 were in Texas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In November 2010, Texas had the lowest unemployment rate (8.2 percent) among the 10 largest states. And over the past year, Texas led the nation in energy, manufacturing, aerospace, professional and business services, and financial sector job growth.

Manufacturing in Texas is especially rebounding and driving job creation. Texas added more new manufacturing jobs (28,000) than any other state in 2010 (the next-closest state added 13,400). The pharmaceutical, biomedical, automotive, and heavy machinery sectors continue to expand steadily. Caterpillar will build a $122 million, 600,000-square-foot hydraulic excavator facility in Victoria that will employ more than 500 new workers and be operational in 2012. The facility will triple the company's current production of hydraulic excavators in the United States. Six Texas metro areas - Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, McAllen, and San Antonio - were among the 20 strongest-performing cities in the country, according to the Brookings Institute's "Tracking Economic Recession and Recovery in America's 100 Largest Metropolitan Areas" from December 2010. Newsweek placed "Texaplex" (Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston) first in its "Top 10 American Cities Best Situated for Recovery" poll.

It's no surprise, then, that Texas is home to more Fortune 1000 companies than any other state. So why is the economy here hotter than a bottle of Texas Pete?

It's just Texas doing what it usually does: keeping corporate taxes down (Texas has one of the 10 lowest tax rates in the country), streamlining regulations and permitting, and supporting business through the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF), which has helped create more than 56,000 new jobs and generated $14.7 billion in capital investment. Additionally, the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) supports cutting-edge, high-tech innovation that generates partnerships and attracts top researchers from around the world.

The state government also plans to make permanent the small business tax cut that was passed during the recession, as well as to implement stronger protections against frivolous lawsuits. Governor Richard Perry has proposed requiring plaintiffs who file frivolous lawsuits to pay the defendant's legal bills, establishing early dismissal options for frivolous lawsuits, expediting trials and limiting discovery for lawsuits up to $100,000, and ensuring that new laws cannot create causes of action unless expressly established by the legislature.

2010: A Good Year
The Texas gross state product (GSP) totaled more than $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2010 and continues to diversify, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA). If Texas were a nation, it would be the world's eleventh-largest economy.

Texas continues to lead in the global marketplace. For the ninth consecutive year, Texas ranked as the top state for export revenues. Texas' 2010 exports totaled $206.6 billion, up 26.7 percent from $162.9 billion in 2009. The state's exports outperformed overall U.S. exports, which grew about 21 percent. Top Texas exports are computer and electrical products, chemicals, petroleum and coal products, machinery, and transportation equipment. Texas ranked first nationwide in exports of communications equipment ($8 billion) and electronic components ($3 billion), and second in exports of computers and peripheral equipment ($8.7 billion). In fact, technology exports comprised more than 20 percent of all goods the state exported last year.

Petroleum refining and chemical products, information and computer technology, biotechnology, and advanced technology and manufacturing drive the Texas economy. Within these markets, renewable energy, life sciences, and aerospace/aviation are some of the highest-performing clusters leading Texas out of the recession.
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