Sunday, December 19, 2010

Texas Economy Kicking Your State's Ass

Great news for Texas: It's economy is doing better than the rest of the country and is ranked 11th worldwide. Susan Combs, Texan Comptroller of Public Accounts, gives us these updated statistics:
  • Texas’ October 2010 unemployment rate was 8.1 percent, the same as the previous month versus the 9.8 percent U.S. unemployment rate in November 2010, a 0.2 percent increase from October.
  • The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 45 consecutive months.
  • In October 2010, the Texas foreclosure rate was one in every 667 mortgages. This was substantially better than Nevada’s one in 66, Florida’s one in 137, Arizona’s one in 143, and California’s one in 190.
  • The Texas region’s consumer confidence index increased from 71.8 in October to 89.7 in November 2010, and is now up 38.2 percent from its level one year ago.
Lucky Austin is the American city least affected by the downturn, ranking as No. 3 in economic performance before the recession, No. 3 during the recession and No. 1 since.

An obvious conclusion to draw would be the correlation between oil in Texas and the sustaining economy. Another surprising and optimistic factor, however, are Texas non-profits and charities. According to the Austin American Statesmen,

One out of 26 people — 3.8 percent of the state's total work force — works at a nonprofit. In 2008, the most recent year studied in the report , 16,389 people worked at Travis County charities — 3.6 percent of all jobs in the county. 403,000 nonprofit employees in the state earned $16.8 billion in wages, according to a study by the Austin-based OneStar Foundation and Johns Hopkins University .

In 2009 , the state created a task force to help it work more effectively with nonprofits. That group issued a variety of recommendations intended to help charities, such as maintaining the current tax policy for the sector and maximizing the state's acquisition of federal funds for grant and contract programs.

Clearly the message is that nonprofits are a key economic force in Texas. After a dismal election in November 2010 gave the Texan Republicans a supermajority, apprehension set in about the effects of certain-to-be government cuts will have on that force. Non-profits have a difficult time lobbying for their own benefits and rights because they are so busy, you know, helping others. The task force will hopefully help city officials and non-profit leaders work to more effectively contract and provide services, so that non-profit organizations can continue to focus on their projects.

Or maybe they should just buy an oil field. Then the government will definitely listen.

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