COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – The Texas economy gained 258,500 nonagricultural jobs from August 2012 to August 2013, an annual growth rate of 2.4 percent compared with 1.7 percent for the United States.
According to the Real Estate Center’s latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy, the state’s nongovernment sector added 247,800 jobs, an annual growth rate of 2.7 percent compared with 2 percent for the nation’s private sector.
All Texas industries except the transportation, warehousing and utilities industry had more jobs in August 2013 than in August 2012. The state’s mining and logging industry ranked first in job creation, followed by construction, leisure and hospitality services, and professional and business services.
Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent last month from 6.8 percent a year ago. The nation’s rate decreased from 8.1 to 7.3 percent.
All Texas metros except Texarkana had more jobs. Odessa ranked first in job creation, followed by Midland, Dallas-Plano-Irving, Fort Worth-Arlington and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown.
The state’s actual unemployment rate last month was 6.3 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate, followed by Odessa, Amarillo, Abilene, San Angelo and Lubbock.
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Texas continues to create jobs at a pace higher than the nation. The state's economy gained 297,900 nonagricultural jobs from May 2012 to May 2013, an annual growth rate of 2.7 percent compared with 1.6 percent for the United States.
According to the Real Estate Center's latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy, the state’s nongovernment sector added 279,000 jobs, an annual growth rate of 3.1 percent compared with 2 percent for the nation’s private sector.
Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.5 percent last month from 7 percent a year ago. The nation’s rate decreased from 8.2 to 7.6 percent.
All Texas industries except the transportation, warehousing and utilities industry had more jobs. The state’s construction industry ranked first in job creation, followed by the mining and logging industry, leisure and hospitality services industry, and professional and business services industry.
All Texas metro areas except Wichita Falls, Texarkana and Beaumont-Port Arthur had more jobs. Midland ranked first in job creation, followed by Odessa, Fort Worth-Arlington, Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown.
The state’s actual unemployment rate last month was 6.5 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Odessa, Amarillo, Abilene, Lubbock, San Angelo and Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos.
FORT WORTH (Fort Worth Star Telegram) – The state's housing market continues to benefit from population and job growth, according to the latest housing data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
Nearly 54,000 existing single-family homes in Texas were sold in first quarter 2013. That's up 17.5 percent from a year ago.
“We’ve heard a lot about the growth of Texas and now we’re starting to really see the impact on our real estate market,” said Texas Association of Realtors Chairman Shad Bogany.
Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines agreed.
"There is clearly demand for Texas homes, and rising prices are encouraging more homeowners to consider listing their properties," he said.
The median sales price statewide for the first quarter was $158,000, up 7 percent from first quarter 2012.
The months inventory of existing homes was 4.2 months, down 28.8 percent from a year ago.
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – The Texas economy continues to create jobs at a pace twice the national average.
According to the Real Estate Center's latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy, the state gained 322,600 nonagricultural jobs from March 2012 to March 2013, an annual growth rate of 3 percent compared with 1.5 percent for the United States.
The state’s private sector added 310,000 jobs, an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent compared with 1.9 percent for the nation’s nongovernment sector.
Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent from 7 percent a year earlier. The nation’s rate decreased from 8.2 to 7.6 percent.
All Texas industries and the state’s government sector had more jobs than a year ago. The state’s mining and logging industry ranked first in job creation, followed by the construction industry, leisure and hospitality services, and professional and business services.
All Texas metro areas except Texarkana and Wichita Falls had more jobs. Odessa ranked first in job creation, followed by Midland, Corpus Christi, Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown.
The state’s actual unemployment rate was 6.3 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Odessa, Amarillo, Abilene, San Angelo and College Station-Bryan.
TEMPLE - The Temple Economic Development Corporation and the City of Temple announced that Buc-ee’s will build the company’s thirtieth travel center in Texas on a 17.5-acre tract on NW Loop 363 in north Temple. The over 60,000-sf travel center will be the first Buc-ee’s located north of Austin.
Buc-ee's will make an approximately $16 million capital investment in the project. The company will hire approximately 150 full-time employees, according to Beaver Aplin, Buc-ee’s founder and CEO. It typically takes about one year to complete such projects.
The Temple EDC and the City of Temple both approved incentive agreements for Buc-ee’s on April 18.
TEMPLE - Five new projects netted $776 million in new value for the area economy last year, according to Lee Peterson, the president of the Temple Economic Development Corp.
These projects included
Panda Energy’s $758 million power plant
Johnson Brothers Ford-Lincoln’s new facility
Sparetime Fun Center
investments by Tin Knockers Sheet Metal and Gateway Center — which will be home to the new Cinemark Theaters.
More than 53 percent of Temple businesses plan expansions in the next three years. Over 73 percent expect to grow in Temple. Forty-one percent of Temple companies consider their primary market to be global, Peterson said.
Johnson Brothers’ owner Harry Adams and General Manager Kenny McCarty accepted the award for Expansion Project of the Year, which honored the dealership for its new $5.5 million facility and $500,000 in new equipment.
Johnson Brothers’ has plans to hire 15 more employees and expects to generate more than $3 million in sales taxes this year, according to Charley Ayres with the Temple EDC.
TEMPLE - Panda Power has secured $372 million to build a second natural gas-fueled power plant that will contribute to a $3.2 billion boost in the Temple area economy over the next decade.
The 758-megawatt combined-cycle plant will be adjacent to a similar facility under construction off Lorraine Dr. in Synergy Industrial Park in southeast Temple.
The plants will produce enough power to supply 1.5 million homes in Central and North Texas when complete by mid-2015. The first phase should be online by summer 2014, Panda spokesman Bill Pentak said.
Each plant will contribute $1.6 billion to the area — primarily due to an enlarged tax base — during the first ten years of operation, according to a study by Impact Data Source of Austin.
Panda Power Funds has issued $372 million of secured debt on Temple II and $340 million on the project’s first phase, according to Standard & Poor’s Rating Service.
Each power plant will create 700 to 800 jobs at peak construction. Thirty-five employees will operate the facilities, and 90 jobs will be created within the community to support the plants, according to the company.
They also will be among the cleanest power plants in the U.S., with advanced emissions-control technology that will contain carbon monoxide emission to less than ten parts-per-million and nitrogen oxide to less than two parts-per-million,
All area taxing entities have granted the project ten-year, 50 percent tax abatements. The company has a similar 758-megawatt plant under construction in Sherman.
KILLEEN RANKED 8TH STRONGEST ECONOMY IN THE NATION
KILLEEN, TEXAS – Killeen’s economy has not only fared well in recent years; according to the POLICOM Corporation, it has become significantly stronger. The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is ranked 8th in the nation on the POLICOM Corporation’s 2013 Economic Strength Rankings, an improvement from the 2012 ranking of 30th on the list.
POLICOM produces this study annually, analyzing the economic strength of 366 MSAs in the United States and ranking them accordingly. In less than a decade the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood MSA has improved its standing in the chart by 161 places with a steady climb from the rank of 169 in 2006 to its best position yet with the 8th spot in 2013.
"To investors, those who start businesses, create wealth, provide jobs and pay taxes, the important economic factors are trends over time,” said John Crutchfield, President/CEO of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce. “By POLICOM's definition, their 'highest ranked areas have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time'. For our MSA to be ranked 8th out of 366 MSAs in the U.S. is an extraordinary achievement. When coupled with other factors, such as the City of Killeen's recently achieved high-quality credit rating, the achievement is even more remarkable. Our region is poised for a tremendous future."
In 2012, the MSA was ranked 30th in the nation and 5th in Texas behind the state’s four major metropolitan areas – Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. The 2013 study ranks Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood as the 3rd strongest economy in Texas behind Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos ranked 4th in the nation and San Antonio-New Braunfels ranked 7th. The Killeen area surpassed Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington at the 14th position and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown ranking 17th in the nation.
“The rankings do not reflect the latest ‘hotspot’ or boom town, but the areas which have the best economic foundation,” said William H. Fruth, President of POLICOM.
The study measures 23 different economic factors over a twenty-year period to determine an area’s “economic strength” - the long-term tendency for an area to consistently grow in size and quality. To be designated a Metropolitan Statistical Area, the area must have at least one urbanized area with a population of at least 50,000, plus adjacent counties which have a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties. They must have a minimum of one county but most often include several counties.
POLICOM, located in Palm City, FL, specializes in analyzing local and state economies and has created this study each year since 1997 to enable the corporation to study the characteristics of strong and weak economies. Data stretching from 1992 to 2011, released in January, 2013, was used for this study. Specific formulas determine how an economy has behaved over an extended period of time.
Though we have all gotten a little tired of the term "Fiscal Cliff" I thought I would send out a summary email with the changes in the law that affect property owners. This information was compiled by the National Association of Realtors and includes........
Mortgage cancellation relief is extended until January 1st, 2014. This is for people doing short sales and not wanting to be taxed on the amount shorted to the bank.
Deductions for mortgage insurance premiums, for filers making under $110,000, is extended through 2013 and is retroactive for 2012.
The energy efficiency tax credit of 10% (up to $500) was extended through 2013 for improvements to EXISTING homes.
Capital gains rate: This stays at 15% for those making under $400k/$450k. After that tax rate is now 20%. The $250k/$500k exclusion for the sale of a single family residence stays in place.
Estate Tax: The first $5m in individual estates and $10m in family estates are now exempt from estate taxes. After that the rate is 40%.
So some headway has been made. Now it's time for congress to get back to work and finish the deal.
KILLEEN - The Killeen Independent School District is on track to complete its new 142,000-sf Career Center at 1322 Stagecoach Rd.
Career centers provide employers with skilled laborers in the area of vocational trades, according to Tom Pauken, one of three commissioners sitting on the Texas Workforce Commission
The Center will serve high school students looking to earn professional certifications in nine career areas including health science, information technology, agriculture, food and natural resources; audio/visual technology and communications; transportation, distribution and logistics; architecture and construction; law, public safety, corrections and security; and manufacturing and human services.
"These are trades with an aging workforce. For example, the average age of a master plumber is 56 years old," said Pauken. "These industries are looking for people coming out of school with the right certifications, training and knowledge."
The construction of the center was part of a $26 million facilities project that included the construction of the adjacent Pathways campus, which opened in August 2011. The facility's construction is scheduled to open for the 2012-13 school year with approximately 950 students enrolled.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Houston Business Journal) – Does Texas have fewer delinquent mortgages than other states? A new report says yes.
According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Foreclosure Prevention Report, Texas is among states with the lowest rate of seriously delinquent mortgages. During the first quarter, only 1.5 percent of the 1.74 million Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans in the state were delinquent by three months or more, or in foreclosure.
Statewide, 94,531 loans had undergone foreclosure prevention action between October 2008 and March 2012. An additional 526,168 loans have been refinanced between April 2009 and March 2012.
Topping the list was Florida, with a delinquency rate of more than 8 percent, followed by Nevada and New Jersey, with rates between 6 and 8 percent, respectively. The lowest delinquency rates were found in Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming.
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – The Texas economy gained 228,500 nonagricultural jobs from May 2011 to May 2012, an annual growth rate of 2.2 percent compared with 1.4 percent for the United States, according to the Real Estate Center’s latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy.
The state’s private (nongovernment) sector gained 279,800 jobs, an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent compared with 1.8 percent for the nation’s private sector.
Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in May 2012 from 8.1 percent in May 2011. The nation’s rate decreased from 9 to 8.2 percent. The state’s actual unemployment rate in May 2012 was 6.5 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock, San Angelo and Abilene.
The state’s mining and logging industry ranked first in job creation, followed by leisure and hospitality and other services.
The information industry remained in the red, losing 600 jobs, while all other Texas industries had more jobs in May 2012 than in May 2011. The government sector also lost jobs.
All Texas metro areas except Victoria, Wichita Falls, College Station-Bryan and Abilene had more jobs in May 2012 than in May 2011. Odessa ranked first in job creation, followed by Laredo, Texarkana, Corpus Christi and Lubbock.
The full report, written by Research Economist Dr. Ali Anari and Chief Economist Dr. Mark Dotzour, is posted on the Center's website.
The Killeen area's economy ranks among the nation's strongest, according to a new study.
Policom, an economic research firm that specializes in analyzing local and state economies, ranked the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood Metropolitan Statistical Area 30th out of 366 MSAs in its annual Economic Strength Rankings study.
The ranking is an increase from 2011, when the local MSA ranked 60th.
William H. Fruth, president of Policom, said the rankings reflect areas that have the best economic foundation.
"The top-rated areas have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time," said Fruth. "While most communities have slowed or declined during this recession, the strongest areas have been able to weather the storm."
Data stretching from 1991 to 2010 was used for the study, which measures 23 economic factors. Specific formulas determine how an economy has behaved over an extended period of time.
Ranked MSAs must contain at least one city with 50,000 people and are typically composed of more than one county.
Killeen ranked fifth out of 25 MSAs ranked in Texas, placing it below the state's largest metropolitan areas — Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin.
The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood MSA has steadily climbed on Policom's list since 2006.
The region was ranked 169th in 2006, 143rd in 2007, 125th in 2008, 122nd in 2009, 89th in 2010 and 60th in 2011.
John Crutchfield, president and CEO of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, said the ranking will have a positive impact on the region.
"Anytime you get a positive endorsement from an independent third party, especially one with the economic credibility of Policom, it makes a difference in the market place," said Crutchfield.
Policom, headquartered in Palm City, Fla., has conducted the national study since 1997.
From the research, the firm determines if an economy is growing or declining, what is causing the change, and offers ideas and solutions for improvement.
Cheapskates of the world unite -- you have nothing to lose but your spare change!
The 10 cities below offer the lowest cost-of-living levels of some 300 communities surveyed each quarter by the Council for Community and Economic Research.
"These are parts of the country that are incredibly inexpensive," the council's Dean Frutiger says. "Prices there are a lot less than [No.1 cost-of-living area] Manhattan."
The council volunteers help compile cost-of-living figures for various cities by checking local prices every three months on some 60 goods and services, from doctor's visits to T-bone steaks.
The group then runs the numbers through a weighting system to give more prominence to things such as rent and mortgage bills.
There's also a heavily weighted "miscellaneous" category that serves as a catch-all for everything from bowling prices to dry-cleaning costs.
If your idea of the perfect date is using a two-for-one coupon at a Sunday matinee, click below to see the U.S. communities that offer the nation's lowest cost-of-living levels. (There are three Texas entries, which are grouped.)
Each city's score reflects how its living costs compares with the national average. For instance, a score of 90 means a community's cost of living is 90% of the overall U.S. average.
All local property prices are from Realtor.com -- the National Association of Realtors' official property-listing site -- and exclude mobile homes.
By: Esther Cho 05/15/2012
Nationwide, the number of homes listed for sale has fallen 21 percent from a year ago, according to Pro Teck Valuation Services' May Home Value Forecast.
Also, the forecast reported Months of Remaining Inventory (MRI) is at 6.3 months, which is the lowest level since 2006.
A strong market will have 0 to 5 months of inventory, a balanced market 6 to 10 months, and a soft market will have 11 to 15 months.
From 2002 to 2005, when the housing market was booming, the national MRI was at or below 5 months.
As listings and MRI decline, some of the metro areas that fell the hardest may be recovering now.
The report noted that closely watched areas such as Phoenix, Miami, Atlanta, Orlando, and Riverside-San Bernardino are high on the list in terms of seeing the greatest declines in listings. As for areas with low MRI, Phoenix, San Jose, and Seattle topped the list.
Using a broad base of indicators, including MRI, median prices, number of active listings, sales percent change, and other indicators, HomeValueForecast.com ranked the 10 best and worst performing core based statistical areas(CBSAs).
Commenting on top performing CBSAs, Michael Sklarz, principal of collateral analytics and contributing author to HomeValueForecast.com, noted that “Rustic Belt” states such as Michigan and Illinois are seeing positive trends as the number of their active listings decline over the past year.
“This has led to most of these markets having balanced or tight markets based on their Months of Remaining Inventory values,” he said.
When observing trends for the worst performing CBSAs, Sklarz pointed out that a high percentage are located in the Northeast and all locations have double digit months of remaining inventory.
“Also, prices in these metros have held up much better since the market peak in 2005-2006 compared to the current top ranked markets,” said Sklarz. “We believe that the relative rankings in the bottom ranked metros are not offering the same bargains – in terms of compelling prices and high rental yields – as the top ranked ones.”
Boise City, Nampa, Idaho
Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Michigan
West Palm Beach-Boca Rotan-Boynton Beach, Florida
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
Salt Lake City, Utah
Cape Coral-Ft. Myers, Florida
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Virgina-North Carolina
By Prashant Gopal - May 9, 2012
Prices for single-family homes climbed in half of U.S. cities in the first quarter as real estate markets stabilized.
The median sales price increased from a year earlier in 74 of 146 metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said in a report today. In the fourth quarter, only 29 areas had gains.
The U.S. housing market is showing signs of bottoming as improving employment and record-low mortgage rates boost demand while inventories of available properties tighten. At the end of March, 2.37 million previously owned homes were available for sale, 22 percent fewer than a year earlier, the Realtors said.
“The housing market is still depressed but it had a good quarter,” Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, said in a telephone interview today. “We’re on the mend but it’s still something that will take two or three years before we’re back to normal.”
The national median existing single-family home price was $158,100 in the first quarter, down 0.4 percent from the first three months of 2011, according to the Realtors group.
The best-performing metro area was Cape Coral, Florida, where prices increased 28.1 percent from a year earlier. Prices rose 19 percent in Grand Rapids, Michigan; 16.9 percent in Palm Bay, Florida; and 16.6 percent in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Kingston, New York, had the biggest decline, with the median selling price tumbling 22 percent in the quarter. It was followed by Stamford, Connecticut, with an 18 percent decline; Mobile, Alabama, at 14.7 percent; and Atlanta at 12 percent.
The median selling price is influenced by the mix of homes on the market and probably was boosted by a smaller share of transactions involving distressed properties. Those homes, which sell at discounts, accounted for 32 percent of first-quarter sales, down from 38 percent a year earlier.
Prices are more volatile than normal because they are affected by the prevalence of distressed sales and “sudden upswings” in buyer interest in some areas, said Lawrence Yun, the group’s chief economist.
“We have broad shortages of lower-priced homes in much of the country, with very tight supply in Western states for homes through the middle price ranges,” Yun said in the report. “This is good news for many sellers who wish to list now, or for those waiting for prices to improve.”
Sales of previously owned homes rose 5.3 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to the report. Purchases climbed 11.7 percent in the Midwest, 6.6 percent in the Northeast, 4.1 percent in the South, and 1.4 percent in the West.
Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest mortgage-finance company, today reported a $2.7 billion first-quarter profit after a $6.5 billion loss a year earlier, citing smaller declines in home prices as one of the reasons for improvement. The Washington- based company said that it won’t need Treasury Department aid to balance its books for the first time since it was seized by federal regulators in 2008.
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Existing home sales across the state surged in February, reflecting a stronger market, an improving economy and “better weather than February last year,” said Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines.
“In some cases, the increased sales occurred within the lower-priced home market as mortgage lending requirements have improved,” Gaines said.
Sales in Texas last month were up 21 percent over February 2012, according to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data compiled by the Center. The National Association of Realtors reported an 8.8 percent year-over-year jump in sales.
Median prices continued to be flat across the state as a whole, but they exhibited wide variation among individual markets, with some markets showing significant surges and others further declines.
“Median price in the four major markets (Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio) were essentially flat, with more significant changes occurring in the smaller markets where large percentage changes can occur more easily,” Gaines said.
Gov. Rick Perry announced Monday a $1.8 million investment through the Texas Enterprise Fund for a new onshore delivery center in Belton for CGI Group Inc.
"What an outstanding day for Belton, as we welcome CGI's decision to bring 350 jobs to our community of 20,000 people," said Belton Mayor Jim Covington. "Let me extend my deep appreciation to the numerous partnerships and hard work of many across the Central Texas region that helped bring this dream to reality."
CGI Group, a Canadian-based information technology management and business process services company, employs more than 31,000 workers in 125 offices in 16 countries.
The Belton center, which is expected to create $7 million in capital investments, will "support CGI clients' needs for software development, maintenance and testing, as well as network engineering, design and data management support," according to a news release on the governor's announcement.
"For more than 25 years in the state of Texas, CGI has been a trusted IT partner to public sector clients and some of the world's largest corporation. We are proud to extend this partnership now with the city of Belton," said George Schindler, president of CGI U.S. "With a focus on recruiting veterans and military family members, this center will offer high-quality, onshore IT talents to our clients while providing good jobs to those that have served our nation so proudly."
The IT company plans to partner with Texas A&M University-Central Texas, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Temple College to recruit skilled local talent, according to the release.
"We're thrilled here," said Stephanie O'Banion, president and CEO of the Belton Chamber of Commerce. "I know the city and the Belton Economic Development Corporation have been working diligently at this project."
Cynthia Hernandez, executive director for the economic development corporation, said the city and the corporation still had to sign off on the deal. The Belton City Council will consider the matter at its meeting tonight.
"Obviously, we're very excited. It's a great opportunity for Belton," said Hernandez. "We're hoping (tonight) that we'll have lots of celebrating."
In his announcement, Perry said CGI's move to Belton will strengthen the Central Texas economy — a view shared by state Rep. Ralph Sheffield, R-Temple, who represents Belton.
"I am glad that CGI was able to learn what I have known for a long time, which is Bell County is a great place to work and live," said Sheffield. "I look forward to continuing to work with them for the betterment of the region."
The Texas Legislature created the Texas Enterprise Fund in 2003 to help Texas businesses grow and create jobs.
The fund has invested more than $439 million, which led to 59,000 new jobs and more than $14 billion in capital investment in the state, according the release from the governor's office. Fund projects must be approved by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.
KILLEEN, Texas – Killeen has once again claimed the top spot on a national ranking. Newgeogrpahy.com announced Monday that the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood Metropolitan Statistical Area topped their 2011 Best Cities for Jobs list.
This annual list created for Forbes Magazine ranked 398 current metropolitan statistical areas based on employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported from November 1999 to January 2011. Rankings are based on recent growth trends, mid-term growth and long-term growth and momentum.
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood ranked first out of all 398 MSAs, improving three spots from the 2010 fourth place ranking. The MSA has showed continued job growth during the last few years ranking fifth on the 2009 list; a significant increase from the 63rd spot in the 2008 rankings.
"This announcement is gratifying. A lot of people work together to achieve a result such as this. Folks around here are, in every sense, world class collaborators,” said John Crutchfield, Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce President/CEO. “We are all fortunate to live in the center of a state with a business-friendly environment and in a community who enjoys a productive, supportive relationship with our military neighbor, Fort Hood. This is another reason for continued optimism about our future.”
The 2011 list confirmed the trend that smaller communities tend to be the best places for jobs. Eighteen of the top 20 cities on the list were either small (under 150,000 nonfarm jobs) or mid-sized areas (less than 450,000 jobs).
Despite tough economic times in the United States, the Lone Star State has weathered the storm fairly well. Texas cities claimed five of the top six and nine of the top 20 spots on the list. Texas dominated the three size categories as well, with Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood ranking first amongst small cities, El Paso garnering the top spot for mid-sized cities (third overall), and the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos MSA claiming the top spot amongst large metropolitan areas (sixth overall).
About the Best Cities for Jobs list
Joel Kotkin, a Distinguished Presidential Fellow at Chapman University, and Michael Shires, an
associate professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, team up annually to create the Best Cities for Jobs list for Forbes Magazine. The list allows the rankings to include all of the metropolitan statistical areas for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports monthly employment data. The rankings are derived from three-month rolling averages of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics "state and area" unadjusted employment data reported from November 1999 to January 2011.
The law helps strengthen a property owner’s right to defend against eminent domain from both U.S. and Texas government agencies and private entities.
The bill was one of the governor's “emergency” initiatives for the current legislative session.
TEXAS ECONOMY GROWING FASTER THAN NATION'S
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Texas’ economy continues to outperform the U.S. economy, according to the latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy produced by the Real Estate Center.
Texas gained 254,900 jobs from April 2010 to April 2011, an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent. Over the same period, U.S. nonfarm employment rose 1.1 percent.
The state’s private sector also exceeded U.S. figures, posting an annual employment growth rate of 3 percent compared with the nation's 1.7 percent .
Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 8 percent last month from 8.2 a year ago. During that time, the nation’s rate decreased from 9.8 to 9 percent.
All Texas industries except the information industry had more jobs in April 2011 than in April 2010. All Texas metro areas except Abilene had more jobs, as well. Petroplex Odessa ranked first in job creation followed by petroplex Midland, Dallas-Plano-Irving, Beaumont-Port Arthur and Amarillo.
The state’s actual unemployment rate last month was 7.7 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Amarillo, College Station-Bryan, Lubbock and San Angelo.
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – The Texas economy continues to outperform the U.S. economy, according to the Real Estate Center's latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy.
From March 2010 to March 2011, Texas gained 237,900 jobs, an annual growth rate of 2.3 percent. Over the same period, U.S. nonfarm employment rose 1 percent.
The state’s private sector also exceeded U.S. figures, posting an annual employment growth rate of 2.7 percent compared with 1.6 percent for the U.S. private sector.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 8.2 percent to 8.1 percent. The nation’s rate decreased from 9.7 to 8.8 percent.
All Texas industries except financial activities and information industries had more jobs in March 2011 than in March 2010. All Texas metro areas, except Abilene, Brownsville-Harlingen and Laredo, had more jobs. Petroplex Odessa ranked first in job creation followed by Midland, Longview and Dallas-Plano-Irving.
The state’s actual unemployment rate in March 2011 was 8.1 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Amarillo, College Station-Bryan, Lubbock and San Angelo.
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – The Texas economy gained 231,700 jobs from December 2009 to December 2010, an annual growth rate of 2.3 percent, according to the Real Estate Center's latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy.
U.S. nonfarm employment rose 0.8 percent over the same period.
The state’s private sector posted an annual employment growth rate of 2.7 percent compared with 1.2 percent for the U.S. private sector from December 2009 to December 2010.
Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in December 2010, up from 8.2 percent in December 2009, while the nation’s rate decreased from 9.9 to 9.4 percent over the same period.
All Texas industries except trade and information had more jobs in December 2010 than in December 2009.
All Texas metro areas had more jobs in December 2010 than in December 2009. Odessa ranked first in job creation followed by Brownsville-Harlingen, Waco, Longview, and Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood.
The state’s actual unemployment rate in December 2010 was 8 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Amarillo, Lubbock, College Station-Bryan and Abilene.
DALLAS (Dallas Business Journal) – The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is offering $45 million to consumers through its first-time homebuyer program.
“Despite all the negatives we hear from other states, the fact is that the Texas economy — and the demand for homeownership — both remain quite healthy,” said Michael Gerber, executive director of the state agency. “Many families want and are ready to take that exciting step toward homeownership, and TDHCA wants to help them achieve their dreams through safe, reliable lending products offered through the state, coupled with responsible homebuyer education."
The Texas Mortgage Credit Program will help reduce borrowers' tax liability by offering a credit in exchange for taking a certified homebuyer education class. Homebuyers could save up to $2,000 in annual taxes.
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – The Texas economy continues to outperform the U.S. economy in the current recovery, according to the Real Estate Center's latest monthly economic review.
The state’s economy gained 194,400 jobs from November 2009 to November 2010, an annual growth rate of 1.9 percent, compared with the nation’s 842,000 jobs, an annual growth rate of 0.6 percent.
Texas’ private sector continues to play a key role in job creation. The state’s private sector posted an annual employment growth rate of 2.2 percent compared with 1 percent for the U.S. private sector from November 2009 to November 2010.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in November 2010, the same as in November 2009, while the nation’s rate decreased from 10.0 to 9.3 percent over the same period.
All Texas industries except the trade and information industries had more jobs in November 2010 than in November 2009. The state’s mining and logging industry ranked first in job creation followed by professional and business services, education and health services and manufacturing.
All Texas metro areas had more jobs in November 2010 than in November 2009. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission ranked first in job creation followed by Brownsville-Harlingen and Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos.
The state’s actual unemployment rate in November 2010 was 8.3 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Amarillo, Lubbock, College Station-Bryan and Abilene.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Mortgage Bankers Association, Real Estate Center) – The Mortgage Bankers Association's latest mortgage delinquency survey indicate Texas is faring better than the nation in actual foreclosures.
"Texas’ seriously delinquent loans stood at 5.2 percent versus 8.7 percent of loans nationally," said Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines.
Loans considered "seriously delinquent" are 90 or more days past due or in the process of foreclosure.
Foreclosure was started on 0.85 percent of all loans in Texas during third quarter 2010, Gaines said. Nationally, that number was 1.34 percent.
The percentage of loans in foreclosure in Texas at the end of the quarter was 1.8 percent, compared with 4.4 percent nationally.
"Texas delinquent loans have picked up, but third quarter 2010 total delinquencies were down nearly 2 percent from the previous year," Gaines said. "Both the United States and Texas are running at around 9.5 percent delinquency on all loans."
The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood metro area is the best in the nation among 200 major metropolitan areas for its overall business climate, according to an annual study released this week.
The nonpartisan think tank Milken Institute released its 2010 Best-Performing Cities ratings Thursday. Central Texas outstripped last year's top-ranked Austin-Round Rock metropolitan service area to capture the top spot.
The study was designed as an objective measure of which metropolitan areas are most successful in creating and retaining jobs, and how good those jobs are in terms of wages and overall economic strength, according to a preamble to the report. Emphasis is placed on growth in employment because of its importance in determining the economic health and viability of communities, the report said.
"Basically, we look at jobs," said Skip Rimer, executive director of programs and communications at the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Milken Institute. "How well cities do at creating jobs and holding on to jobs. In particular, good paying jobs."
The Killeen area ranked second last year behind Austin-Round Rock. The region ranked 13th in 2008, moving upward on the list from 33rd place in 2007.
"That growth has not been in any one specific area," said John Crutchfield, president of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce. "But that growth has occurred steadily over the last 10 years. We've increased our population by about 30,000 in that 10 years."
Overall, 11 of the top 25 ranked metro areas on the 2010 listings are in Texas, according to the report.
The Houston-Sugarland MSA is ranked 10th, down from fifth place last year. San Antonio was knocked out of the top 10 this year, falling to 14th. To the north, Dallas lost five places, moving from 13th in 2009 to 17th this year, and Fort Worth toppled from last year's 12th place ranking to 23rd position, the report said.
Comparisons are made on one-year and five-year trends in both wages and salaries and job growth. The five-year trends cover the years 2004 to 2009, while the one-year snapshot covers April 2009 to April 2010, Rimer said.
The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area, which includes portions of Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties, ranked seventh overall in five-year job growth, posting 10.75 percent greater growth than the national average. One-year job growth of 3.84 percent greater than the national average ranked the area fourth in the nation.
Wage and salary growth, at 22.72 percent greater than the national average, posted the region a first-place ranking, as did the region's 6.18 percent increase in salaries and wages compared to the national one-year average, the report said.
"I think it's great," Killeen Mayor Tim Hancock said. "It proves we have the ability to maintain. We are what we claim to be."
Charlie Kimmey, chairman of the board of directors for the Temple Chamber of Commerce, agreed.
"It's huge," Kimmey said of the report. "A lot of good things are going on in our Central Texas area."
The greatest increase, compared to state averages, was in the realm of high technology growth, the study found. The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area experienced economic impact from technology-based businesses at a rate 48.17 percent greater than state averages over the five years from 2004-09.
A significant portion of the growth in the technology sector is directly related to Fort Hood, through some 240 companies directly involved in defense contracts, Crutchfield said. But high tech is not the sole purview of the Army, he said.
In the eastern portion of the county, McLane Advanced Technologies in Temple is another example of strong growth in tech industries, Kimmey said. The company, with several ongoing defense contracts, grew its workforce from about 30 employees, 18 months ago, to several hundred today, he said.
"They've just grown by leaps and bounds," Kimmey said. "That's just one that comes to mind."
It shouldn't come as a surprise to find the engine driving both growth and the continued strength of the local economies is the defense industry and Fort Hood, Rimer and Crutchfield said. Studies conducted about two years ago by the office of State Comptroller Susan Combs found the local economic impact of the military post tops $7 billion annually. Statewide, that impact is almost $11 billion a year, Crutchfield said.
Cooperation is key
But that isn't the only force powering the ongoing growth, he said. It's also fueled by increasing cooperation among the communities in the service area.
"We've worked very hard this year to be more engaging with more chambers of commerce in our area — Belton, Salado, Killeen," Kimmey said. "When one wins, we all win."
Crutchfield agreed. The report bodes well for the Central Texas region, not only for what it says, but for the scope of where it says it.
"That's a national report and it gets national attention," he said. "It really makes a positive statement. For lack of a better term, it is very positive, unpaid advertising for us.
"Regionalism is something that folks have to learn," Crutchfield said. "We're now in a global economy, made possible by the ability to communicate at the speed of light. The competition for Killeen is not Temple. It's competition around the world."
COLLEGE STATION (The Eagle) – Scott & White Healthcare officials have confirmed plans for a College Station hospital.
Katherine Voss, a spokeswoman for the Temple-based health care provider, said steps have been initiated toward building an acute care hospital on 98 acres at SH 6 and Rock Prairie Rd., where Weingarten Realty had wanted to build a Walmart Supercenter.
Bob Cowell, the city’s planning and development services director, said Scott & White officials have applied to have the property rezoned to accommodate a clinic and hospital.
“Nothing has received approval, and they don’t have the entitlements in place to build what they want to do, but they’ve started the process,” Cowell said.
Scott & White has submitted a plan that divides the property into four tracts. The first phase of the project would be built on one tract and include a 150,000-sf medical clinic and a 140-bed hospital. The proposal doesn't specify what might be built in future phases, Cowell said.
TEXAS (The Atlantic) – Even in the middle of the Great Recession, Texas is faring well compared with the rest of the nation, racking up an ever-growing list of accomplishments.
In addition to ranking fourth in the country with the least amount of state debt, Texas has four cities in the Milken Institute’s Top Five Best Performing Cities Index, four among Forbes' list of top ten “Cities Where the Recession is Easing,” and four in last year’s Top Ten in Homebuilding.
Texas is home to three of the top five most resilient major metro areas for employment, with McAllen first, Austin third, San Antonio fifth and El Paso and Houston not far behind in the top 15.
The Lone Star State also claims 64 Fortune 500 companies — more than any other state — in addition to being dubbed Top State for Business for the second time in three years by CNBC.
The Atlantic says these accomplishments are because Texas’ major cities have chosen comparatively stable industries — Houston is the nation’s energy hub, Austin leads in education and technology, and San Antonio dominates the health care and education sector in addition to military spending.
“Our research shows that the more tax incentives and less regulation you have, and the less likely businesses are to get sued, the more likely it is they’ll want to come and prosper in your state,” said Brooke Rollins, president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
These factors support Texas’ position as a global economic leader, having the 15th largest economy in the world.