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Southwest Economy Issue Archive

Archive for the quarterly publication featuring in-depth articles and interviews about Texas and the surrounding region, as well as Mexico.

Third Quarter 2022
Print version

  • Lorie K. Logan: New Dallas Fed President’s Observations, Outlook
    As Logan assumed her new duties at the Dallas Fed, she participated in a virtual town hall, answering questions about her background and priorities for the Eleventh Federal Reserve District. This article presents excerpts from that event.
  • Maquiladoras, Mexico’s Engine of Trade, Driven to Navigate Evolving Demand
    Jesus Cañas
    Mexico’s maquiladoras, an important generator of manufacturing and employment activity along the U.S.–Mexico border, confront a changing landscape. Evolving global trade patterns, reflecting stressed supply chains and increasing electric vehicle production, will test maquiladora agility and growth prospects.
  • Supply Chains Slowly Mend as Texas Firms View Recovery in 2023
    Christopher Slijk and Emily Kerr
    Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, disrupted global supply chains have strained Texas businesses trying to meet strong demand. Initial supply shortages affecting primarily manufacturers and retailers intensified and broadened, impacting firms across most industries. Many Texas firms don’t expect supply-chain normalization until 2023, though the latest data suggest conditions are improving
  • Big Federal Stimulus, Home-Value Spike Won’t Ease Next Slump
    Jason Saving
    Historically large federal transfers coupled with rapid home-price appreciation bolstered state and local revenue in Texas, softening the economic impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations. Ultra-low interest rates and a historic housing boom that aided state and local government operations are fading, suggesting Texas policymakers may encounter additional difficulties during the next downturn.
  • Globalization Remains a Force Despite Pandemic, Political Strains
    On the Record: A Conversation with Pol Antràs
    Pol Antràs is the Robert G. Ory Professor of Economics at Harvard University. He discusses international trade flows and whether evidence indicates that the world economy has entered an era of deglobalization.
  • Spotlight: Texas Exports Reach New Record Despite Strong Dollar
    Mytiah Caldwell, Jesus Cañas and Luis Torres
    Texas remains the nation’s top exporter, setting records each month despite the recent appreciation of the dollar. A strong dollar can be bad for business because it makes U.S. goods more expensive overseas.
  • Around the Region: Office Markets Slowly Emerge from Pandemic Slump
    Laila Assanie
    The pandemic seismically shifted work from the office to home, particularly during its initial lockdown phases. Even when these limits and capacity restrictions eased and economic activity rebounded, office space demand remained soft and vacancy rates climbed.

Second Quarter 2022
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First Quarter 2022
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Fourth Quarter 2021
Print version

  • Largest Texas Metros Lure Big-City, Coastal Migrants During Pandemic
    Wenli Li and Yichen Su
    Almost two years since the pandemic began, high-frequency data show that migration to Texas has accelerated, as the state’s four biggest metros experience an influx of migrants often from the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. The emergence of working from home has lessened both workers’ and some companies’ reliance on physical offices, clearing the way for the new wave of mobility.
  • Texas Joblessness Persists Above U.S. Rate, Weighing on Black, Hispanic Workers
    Anil Kumar
    Texas lost proportionately fewer jobs than the nation during the pandemic, yet the unemployment rate rose above the national rate—a gap that has persisted. Women and minorities were affected disproportionately at the outset. While the gender unemployment gap has largely dissipated, the gaps between white workers and both Black and Hispanic workers have persisted above pre-COVID-19 levels.
  • Semiconductors Key to Global Growth; Geographic Supply Risks Loom
    On the Record: A Conversation with Tyson Tuttle
    Tuttle, CEO of Silicon Labs in Austin, shares his insights on current issues in the semiconductor industry and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
  • Spotlight: Natural Gas Demand Recovers, Lifts Prices
    Jesse Thompson
    Global demand for U.S. natural gas has risen as many pandemic-induced limits on economic activity have been lifted, but domestic production has only slowly recovered
  • Go Figure: Pandemic, Remote Learning Undo STAAR Test Gains; Texas Student Scores Slide
    Design: Justin Chavira, Olumide Eseyin; Content: Christopher Slijk, James Lee
    Hispanic and Black students’ scores on the 2021 exam fell more than those of white students and reversed previous years' gains.

Third Quarter 2021
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Second Quarter 2021
Print version

  • Federal COVID-19 Relief Aided Consumer Debt, Though Immigrant Texans Derived Less Benefit
    Wenhua Di and Chloe Smith
    U.S. and Texas residents shored up their household finances during the COVID-19 recession. The prevalence of various federal-level assistance programs helped boost savings and broadly reduce debt. Among mostly immigrant groups, this tendency was less pronounced, likely due to legal and socioeconomic barriers.
  • Texas Winter Deep Freeze Broke Refining, Petrochemical Supply Chains
    Jesse Thompson
    It may take the Texas petrochemical industry until year-end 2021 to fully recover from the record cold that triggered power outages and supply disruptions in mid-February. Production of basic petrochemical products used in a range of intermediate and consumer goods was interrupted, breaking supply chains already strained by COVID-19 and leading to price pressures and scores of product shortages.
  • Texas Restaurants Find Change on Postpandemic Menu
    On the Record: Conversation with Emily Williams Knight
    Emily Williams Knight, president and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association, discusses how the dining industry survived COVID-19 and the changes that have occurred.
  • Banks Face New Challenges as Texas Rebounds from COVID-19 Shock
    Amy Chapel, Kory Killgo and Kelly Klemme
    The banking industry faced significant challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with profitability declining to levels not seen since the 2008–09 financial crisis. While strong economic growth during 2021 is expected as the economy reopens, some credit deterioration and losses are still possible as fiscal stimulus and national forbearance programs end.
  • Spotlight: Oil Patch Productivity Rises; Jobs Vanish
    Garrett Golding and Sean Howard
    After major oil price busts in 2014 and 2020, the same engineering prowess that helped the oil and gas industry thrive has been driven to find efficiencies to lower operating costs. The result: Fewer workers are needed to produce the same oil and gas output.
  • Go Figure: Women Took Brunt of Pandemic Job Loss as Priorities Shifted to Home
    Design: Olumide Eseyin; Content: Camila L. Holm, Yichen Su
    Working women fared worse than men in the pandemic—a reversal from the Great Recession
  • President’s Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan

First Quarter 2021
Print version

  • COVID-19 Slammed into Texas, Leaving Long-Lasting Impacts
    Emily Kerr, Judy Teng and Keith Phillips
    The economic road from the COVID-19 recession in Texas will likely feature a steeper, more rapid climb than the usual gradual rise associated with most recoveries. Some structural changes that the pandemic wrought will take longer to resolve, including those that will make work from home a longer-term occupational reality for some.
  • COVID-19 Poses Stubborn Challenge to Economic Growth in Mexico
    Jesus Cañas and Chloe Smith
    Mexico, confronting a high rate of COVID-19 infection and an ineffectual medical response, recorded the largest decline in gross domestic product in a quarter century last year. While manufacturing trade with the U.S. provided economic support, the large and hard to reach off-the-books informal sector proved more troublesome and will play an important role in the nation’s performance in 2021.
  • On the Record: A Conversation with Alan D. Viard
    Value-Added Tax Could Restrain Long-Term Federal Debt
    Alan D. Viard, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, studies tax and budget policy. A former senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Viard discusses how to address the U.S. budget deficit in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Spotlight: Pandemic Pushes Texas Minority Unemployment Beyond Highs Reached During Great Recession
    Carlee Crocker and Pia Orrenius
    Recessions are hardest on minorities; the COVID-19 downturn is no different in that regard. Texas is a majority minority state—more than half of Texas’ population is Hispanic or Black—and the consequences are far-reaching if those groups lag behind economically.
  • Go Figure: Collapsing Fuel Demand Tanks Texas Exports During Pandemic’s Peak
    Design: Justin Chavira; Content: Emma Marshall, Pia Orrenius
    The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on Texas energy exports. U.S. energy exports excluding Texas were dramatically less affected.
  • Snapshot: Dining Out Picks Up in Texas, Houston
    The number of patrons dining at restaurants surged in Texas and Houston after the state thawed from a deep freeze in February and COVID-19 constraints on restaurants and bars were lifted March 10.
  • President’s Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan

Fourth Quarter 2020
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Third Quarter 2020
Print version

Second Quarter 2020
Print version

  • Small Business Hardships Highlight Relationship with Lenders in COVID-19 Era
    Wenhua Di, Nathaniel Pattison and Chloe Smith
    The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted normal small business operations and will likely limit the ability of many enterprises to stay financially afloat. Although lenders have become better equipped to evaluate risks and serve small businesses, the supply of credit tends to shrink during economic downturns.
  • COVID-19, Oil Price Collapse, Dimming Outlook for Banks in 2020
    Amy Chapel and Kory Killgo
    Eleventh District banks face challenges from instability in the energy sector and economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. While district banks finished 2019 on solid footing, and regulatory and monetary interventions will buffer some of the headwinds, we expect profitability, credit quality and bank capital to decline in 2020.
  • On the Record: A Conversation with Janie Barrera
    LiftFund’s Microlending Customers Battle to Survive COVID-19 Shock
    Janie Barrera is the founding president and chief executive officer of San Antonio-based LiftFund. Created in 1994, LiftFund has one of the nation’s largest microlending portfolios. The nonprofit provides loans and management training to very small enterprises in Texas and seven other states.
  • Spotlight: Black Workers at Risk for 'Last Hired, First Fired'
    Aquil Jones and Joseph Tracy
    The COVID–19-induced global economic downturn shuttered businesses that have begun slowly reopening and reassessing whether to recall laid-off employees. In the U.S., black unemployment rates have spiked much more than white jobless rates during recessions.
  • Go Figure: COVID-19 Tanks U.S. Fuel Consumption, Prices
    Design: Olu Eseyin; Content: Jesse Thompson
    The effects of the pandemic, including working from home and reduced travel, dropped fuel consumption from mid-March to mid-April 2020.
  • President’s Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan

First Quarter 2020
Print version

  • Mexico’s Higher Costs Under USMCA May Potentially Offset Gains from China-Related Trade Spurt with U.S.
    Daniel Chiquiar, Jesus Cañas, Armando Aguirre and Alfonso Cebreros
    Approval of the United States–Mexico– Canada Agreement (USMCA) could change trade within the North American region, affecting output and weakening North America’s global competitiveness. At the same time, while Mexico is achieving some temporary gains arising from trade tension between the U.S. and China, it stands to incur a substantial overall long-term economic cost.
  • Mexico Seeks to Reduce Consumers' Longstanding Reliance on Cash
    Michael Perez
    Cash is king when it comes to completing transactions in Mexico. Unlike the U.S., where consumers opt to pay with debit and credit cards or via apps, Mexico and its large informal economy continue to rely on hard cash. A new digital payment platform from the nation’s central bank aims to reduce the role of currency.
  • Groundwater Markets Slowly Evolve in Ever-Thirstier Texas
    Keith R. Phillips and Judy Teng
    Texas’ growing population is increasing the demand for water, a commodity that in many parts of the state is subject to wide swings from abundance during wet cycles to shortfall during droughts. Water markets offer one way to help meet some of the growing need. However, legal challenges and a variety of government entities overseeing water use complicate water markets’ applicability.
  • On the Record: A Conversation with Fang Yang
    Policy Changes Could Boost Women’s Participation in U.S. Workforce
    Fang Yang, associate professor of economics at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, discusses the labor market impacts of tax policy, an evolving U.S. workforce, the effects of gender and an aging population.
  • Spotlight: Permian Basin’s Shale-Era Oil Production Rises Even as Rig Count Falls
    Emma Marshall and Jesse Thompson
    A change in the number of active drilling rigs is no longer the reliable predictor for near-term oil production growth that it once was.
  • Go Figure: Migrant Apprehensions at U.S.–Mexico Border Spike in 2019
    Design: Justin Chavira; Content: Carlee Crocker, Pia Orrenius and Chloe Smith
    Apprehensions of migrants at the U.S. southern border surged in spring 2019.
  • Snapshot: COVID-19 Hits Manufacturers
    Texas factory activity declined sharply as the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak took hold in March, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey.
  • Fed Chairman Jerome Powell Comments on FOMC Rate Cut
    Excerpt from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s statement following the Federal Open Market Committee’s emergency reduction of the federal funds rate to a range of 0–0.25 percent, March 15, 2020.

Fourth Quarter 2019
Print version

  • President’s Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan
  • Gentrification Transforming Neighborhoods in Big Texas Cities
    Yichen Su
    As an influx of new, affluent residents has descended on gentrifying neighborhoods around the centers of Texas’ four largest cities, neighborhood amenities have improved. Meanwhile, increasing housing costs have led some low-income households and at-risk populations to locate in more suburban areas.
  • Texas Sees Job, Output Gains from 2018 U.S. Tax Cut
    Anil Kumar
    Texas is among the top 10 states in terms of tax stimulus received from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The law likely played an important role in the state’s stronger subsequent job growth relative to the nation.
  • On the Record: A Conversation with Paula Gold-Williams
    Rising Demand, Renewables Generate New Challenges for Electric Utilities
    Paula Gold-Williams, president and CEO of CPS Energy, offers her perspective on the electricity market in Texas.
  • Spotlight: Banks Face Growing Cybercrime Threat
    John Suek and Michael Perez
    Cybercrime is on the rise in the Eleventh District, with reported incidents jumping 15 percent to 31,185 in 2018 and losses increasing 69 percent to about $220 million over the 12-month period, according to FBI data.
  • Go Figure: Assessing the Cost of Longer Border Wait Times
    Design: Olumide Eseyin; Content: Chloe N. Smith and Jesus Cañas
    Wait times spiked in spring 2019 when Customs and Border Patrol resources were diverted away from border crossings.
  • Snapshot: Energy Sector Sees More Weakness
    Softening oil prices and price expectations, negative stock market returns and tightening credit conditions are putting downward pressure on energy industry activity and employment.

Third Quarter 2019
Complete issue

  • President’s Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan
  • Texas’ Energy Base Drives Climate Concerns as Renewables Expand
    Emma Marshall and Jesse Thompson
    The energy industry’s large presence in Texas—production and refining—is a key contributor to carbon emissions. At the same time, the state is a renewable energy leader, especially with its large share of wind-based electricity generation. Both trends place the state in the center of the debate about climate change and reducing greenhouse gases.
  • On the Record: A Conversation with Katharine Hayhoe | Audio of Katharine Hayhoe's interview
    Texas Offers Perfect Setting to Study Impacts, Costs of Climate Change

    Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where she directs the Climate Science Center. She was a lead author of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, released in November 2018, which documents the extent of climate change. She also hosts Global Weirding, a video series produced by Lubbock’s PBS affiliate, KTTZ.
  • Spotlight: Wind and Solar Power: Perfect When Paired in Texas
    Aquil Jones, Soojin Jo and Christopher Slijk
    As wind and solar power generation becomes more competitive economically relative to conventional coal and natural gas generation, states will likely increase their dependence on such renewable sources.
  • Texans Help Drive National Increase in Auto Loan Debt
    Wenhua Di
    Despite strong economic growth in recent years, Texas auto loan delinquency rates have risen to levels approaching those seen just after the Great Recession. A recent drop in the subprime share of auto loan originations— typically involving less-creditworthy buyers— suggests delinquency rates are likely to fall. However, risks remain elevated because of factors including longer loan duration and young borrowers’ increasing student loan indebtedness.
  • Texas K–12 Education Spending Set to Rise, but Who Will Pay?
    Jason Saving
    The Texas Legislature approved increased public school spending while at the same time limiting property tax increases. Because new revenue to fund this increase over the longer term was not identified, the latest fix may not fully provide a long-term solution to meeting local districts’ needs.
  • Go Figure: Mexico Struggles to Move into Digital Payment Age
    Design: Justin Chavira; Content: Michael Perez
  • Snapshot: Domestic Migration to Texas Slows
    Despite a strong economy and historically low unemployment rates in Texas, net domestic migration to Texas from other states has slowed since 2015.

Second Quarter 2019
Complete issue

  • President’s Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan
  • Texas Facing Historically Tight Labor Markets, Constraining Growth
    Christopher Slijk
    Texas labor markets have become very tight in recent years following steady post-Great Recession job growth. Labor force expansion, once fueled by migration, has eased, and businesses report that they cannot find sufficient numbers of workers to expand—particularly for middle-skill positions. This has constrained economic growth and pressured wages higher.
  • Texas Industrial Building Booms as Economy, Population Grow
    Laila Assanie and Michael Weiss
    A significant portion of Texas’ recent construction activity has been industrial building, with Dallas–Fort Worth leading the nation and Houston among the top six markets. Burgeoning e-commerce, state population gains and an expanding export market have contributed to the growth spurt that has included increases in transportation and logistics employment.
  • Eleventh District Banks Have Performed Well Despite Rising Funding Costs, Nonbank Competition
    Kelsey Reichow and Amy Chapel
    Profitability picked up for Eleventh District banks in 2018 despite rising funding costs and slowing loan growth. Overall asset quality strengthened, though room for further improvement may be limited. Changes in capital regulation could affect bank risk taking.
  • On the Record: A Conversation with Charlie Amato
    Texas Economy Remains Strong Despite Challenges
    Charlie Amato is chairman and co-founder of Southwest Business Corp. (SWBC), a company with 17 lines of business including insurance brokerage, financial planning, employee benefits administration and mortgage servicing. Amato, who has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of insurance operations, offers insights into issues the Texas economy faces.
  • Spotlight: Mexico’s Fiscal Reform Earns Mixed Reviews
    Jesus Cañas
    To compensate for the lack of tax collection to fund government, Mexico has depended heavily on its state-owned oil company, Pemex. Thus, when oil production began declining in 2004, fiscal reform gained urgency.
  • Go Figure: Texas Graduation Rates Commendable, but State Could Fall Behind
    Design: Darcy Taj; Content: Grant Strickler
  • Snapshot: Shale Breakevens Anchor Oil Prices
    The emergence of U.S. shale production seems to be playing a large role in anchoring long-term oil prices.

First Quarter 2019
Complete issue

Fourth Quarter 2018
Complete issue

  • President’s Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan
  • Texas Top-Ranked State for Firm Relocations
    Anil Kumar and Alexander T. Abraham
    Texas is the leading destination for companies relocating from other states. The economic benefits of the moves may be best measured in terms of the ancillary activity generated rather than the benefits directly attributable to the relocations.
  • Mexico’s Nascent Fintech Offers Promise, Faces New Rules
    Michael Perez
    The number of financial technology startups in Mexico has rapidly increased, promising to expand financial services to a large portion of the unbanked population. Officials are hopeful new regulations will aid the industry’s development.
  • Artificial Intelligence Will Dramatically Affect Businesses
    On the Record: A Conversation with Manoj Saxena

    Manoj Saxena, executive chairman of CognitiveScale and a founding managing director of The Entrepreneurs’ Fund IV, serves on the board of the Saxena Family Foundation and AI Global, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting artificial intelligence. He was the first general manager of IBM Watson, a pioneering machine-learning effort, and recently retired after six years on the board of the San Antonio Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  • Spotlight: Texas Pre-K Enrollment Exceeds U.S. Rate
    Stephanie Gullo
    Texas since 1985 has required public school districts to offer half-day prekindergarten to 4-year-olds who meet certain criteria—and schools may extend enrollment to 3-year-olds. During the 2016–17 school year, 49.4 percent of Texas 4-year-olds were enrolled in state-backed pre-K programs, compared with 32.7 percent nationally.

Third Quarter 2018
Complete issue

  • President's Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan
  • New Technology Boosts Texas Firms' Output, Alters Worker Mix
    Emily Kerr, Pia Orrenius and Christopher Slijk
    A Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas survey of manufacturing and services firms in Texas found that as companies adopt new technologies, the number of workers is little changed though the employees’ skill levels shift. While some manufacturers see tighter margins as a result of technology and globalization, service sector firms may realize increased pricing power.
  • Texas Property Taxes Soar as Homeowners Confront Rising Values
    Jason Saving
    A precipitous rise in the amount of property taxes Texans pay has accompanied an uncharacteristically large increase in property tax valuations. Because a variety of local jurisdictions provide services that elsewhere are state responsibilities— particularly public education—there are limited ways to rein in rising property taxes across Texas.
  • Shale Renews Excitement in Energy Industry
    On the Record: A Conversation with Mine Yücel

    Mine Yücel, a senior vice president and research advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, leads the Research Department’s energy group. She joined the Bank in 1989 and is a past president of the International Association for Energy Economics. She discusses the evolution of the energy sector, its role in Texas and her perspective as a female energy economist.
  • Parental Borrowing for College Comes with Repayment Issues
    Wenhua Di, Carla Fletcher and Jeff Webster
    As the cost of college continues to rise, parents are increasingly taking out federally backed loans to help make ends meet for their children. Parents, while often more adept at managing debt, assume some of the financial risks of their offspring who are seeking higher education.
  • Spotlight: Shale Oil Propels U.S. Crude Export Increase
    Kunal Patel and Grant Strickler
    More than 90 percent of crude exports this year have originated on the Gulf Coast, generating jobs, capital and income for ports in Houston and Corpus Christi.
  • Go Figure: If Texas Were a Country ...
    Design: Emily Rogers; Content: Christopher Slijk & Benjamin Meier

Second Quarter 2018
Complete issue

  • President's Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan
  • Harvey Highlights Houston MUD Bond Development Funding
    Laila Assanie and Michael Weiss
    Historic flooding from Hurricane Harvey struck many Houston housing developments whose infrastructure was funded with municipal utility district (MUD) bonds. The tax-exempt debt has been widely used in the Houston area, and in the storm’s aftermath, MUD bond issuance has come under review with the possibility investors may seek greater future compensation.
  • Texas Firms Struggling to Fill Job Openings
    On the Record: A Conversation with David Howard and Dan Howard
    David Howard and Dan Howard are the president and vice president of Staff Force Personnel Services in Katy, Texas, outside Houston. For 29 years, their firm has provided temporary, direct-hire and light-industrial staffing for employers in Texas’ major metros and along the border. The Howards offer insight into the state’s labor market.
  • Texas Banking Conditions Improve, but Risks and Uncertainty Remain
    Kelsey Reichow
    Banks in the Eleventh District, benefiting from a rebounding energy sector and strong regional and national economies, are poised to do well through the remainder of 2018. Asset growth has been solid, though concentrations in commercial real estate loan portfolios bear watching as do limited new bank formations.
  • FEMA to Play Long-Term Role in Recovery from Harvey
    Rachel Brasier and Jesse Thompson
    Federal disaster assistance following Hurricane Harvey has emphasized immediate recovery costs but will likely shift its focus to infrastructure improvements. The timeline for FEMA’s aid program appears to be evolving while increasingly frequent extreme weather events test local disaster-management planning.
  • Spotlight: Border Cities Miss Texas Economic Upturn
    Marycruz De León and Dylan Szeto
    Employment growth along the Texas–Mexico border slowed in 2017, as the region dealt with the cross-currents of the strong U.S. economic expansion and a pickup in Texas activity, along with a slowing Mexican economy and weaker peso.
  • Go Figure: Texas Taps into Craft Brewing After Law Change
    Design: Olumide Eseyin, Kishya Mendoza Greer; Content: Christopher Slijk

First Quarter 2018
Complete issue

  • President's Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan
  • Gone to Texas: Migration Vital to Growth in the Lone Star State
    Pia Orrenius, Alexander T. Abraham and Stephanie Gullo
    Texas has relied on a large and sustained influx of workers from other states and other countries. These transplants—making up nearly half of the state’s workforce—account for an even larger share of Texas’ growth than their relative numbers. Significantly, this inflow brought the types of workers most in demand.
  • On the Record: A Conversation with Jason Saving
    Federal Tax Law Provides Stimulus to Bustling U.S., Texas Economies
    Jason L. Saving is a senior research economist and advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, where he conducts research on public policy issues. He is the author of articles that explore tax reform, regional migration and fiscal policy.
  • Texas Economy Starts 2018 Firing on All Cylinders
    Keith R. Phillips and Christopher Slijk
    Aided by the oil and gas sector’s recovery, the Texas economy rebounded in 2017 and is poised to expand at a faster pace in 2018. However, tight labor markets, disruptions to trade, and potential oil price declines pose risks to the outlook.
  • Spotlight: Mexico Sees Stronger 2018, NAFTA Challenges
    Jesus Cañas
    Amid challenges, there is hope that a strong, expanding U.S. economy and a bright global outlook will support brisk Mexican growth in 2018. Additionally, domestic consumption is expected to increase as inflation decelerates and wages catch up to prices.
  • Go Figure: Texas Home Prices Head Through the Roof
    Design: Emily Rogers, Darcy Taj; Content: Enrique Martínez-García, Valerie Grossman

Fourth Quarter 2017
Complete issue

  • President's Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan
    “The headline unemployment rate and other measures of labor market utilization are at or below prerecession lows.”
  • Texas Sees Coverage Gains Under Health Care Act
    Anil Kumar
    While Texas was among the states choosing not to participate in the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, it nonetheless has seen improvement in the share of the population with health insurance coverage. Gains are notable among the non-college-educated working-age population in Texas, a state that has long ranked near the bottom in health care coverage nationally.
  • On the Record: A Conversation with Judge Ed Emmett
    Harris County Faces Challenges Following Hurricane Harvey Deluge
    Edward M. Emmett became Harris County judge in 2007. He is the chief administrative officer and director of emergency management in the county, which includes most of the city of Houston. He recently released a 15-point plan to prevent future flooding disasters. Harris County is the third-most populous U.S. county, accounting for two-thirds of the Houston metropolitan statistical area’s population of 6.8 million people.
  • Leading Indicators, Storm Data Guide Houston Economic Forecast
    Jesse Thompson
    A forecasting model for Houston that incorporates storm damage data and leading economic indicators can help project post-Hurricane Harvey employment growth. The forecast indicates that Houston’s economy will grow near its 2 percent historical average in 2018.
  • Mexico’s ‘SOFOM’ Finance Firms Attempt to Broaden Loan Availability
    Michael Perez and Kelsey Reichow
    The market presence of Mexican finance companies known as SOFOMES has expanded rapidly since the global financial crisis. The firms largely operate as independent outlets and provide financing to small- and medium-sized companies as well as to consumers for larger purchases. Authorities see SOFOMES as a way to expand credit to Mexico’s informal economy.
  • Spotlight: Rising Education Helps Explain Hispanic Household Income Growth in Texas
    Alexander T. Abraham and Amy Jordan
    Hispanic household income has grown considerably in real (inflation-adjusted) terms in Texas and the U.S. during recent years.
  • Go Figure—Money Sent to Central America on the Rise
    Design: Emily Rogers & Darcy Taj; Content: Stephanie Gullo & Jesus Cañas

Third Quarter 2017
Complete issue

  • President's Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan
    “Although Hurricane Harvey is likely to be among the most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history, we are highly optimistic that Houston and the surrounding area will successfully recover and return to the robust trend growth it experienced before the storm.”
  • Texas Taxes: Who Bears the Burden?
    Jason Saving
    Texas’ reliance on sales and property taxes makes its revenue-raising methods more regressive than those in most other states. Texas lawmakers, facing increasing demands for services, confront a desire to maintain the state’s attractiveness to business even as inequities continue in how the taxpaying burden is shared.
  • On the Record: A Conversation with Ronen Avraham
    Tort Reform in Texas Changed Delivery of Medical Services
    Ronen Avraham is the Thomas Shelton Maxey Professor in Law at the University of Texas Law School, where his primary academic interest is the economic analysis of torts and health care law. He created and published the Database of State Tort Law Reform, now in its fifth edition. Avraham is a board member of the American Law and Economics Association.
  • Texas Retail in the Doldrums; Brick-and-Mortar Stores Take the Brunt
    Amy Jordan
    Texas retailers have confronted a pair of challenges. First, the 2015–16 oil bust depressed personal income, while a stronger dollar weakened demand for goods along the border. Second, amid the Texas economy’s recovery, brick-and-mortar retailers have been losing business to internet sales.
  • High Texas Student Loan Delinquency Rates Underscore Deeper Challenges
    Wenhua Di and Stephanie Gullo
    Texas student loan borrowers have lower debt balances but higher delinquencies than the national average. Debt loads have increased in recent years, further challenging Texas students, who are already more likely than their counterparts nationally to work while in school.
  • Spotlight: Cross-Border Pipelines Link U.S. Natural Gas Producers, Mexican Electricity Users
    Rachel Brasier and Jesse Thompson
    Mexican energy reforms have opened the door to shale gas from the United States—and imports are booming. U.S. natural gas production reached a record high in July 2015, largely due to increased shale drilling dating back to 2010 in the Marcellus field in the Northeastern U.S. and the Permian and Eagle Ford basins in Texas.
  • Go Figure—LNG Markets Unleashed: How Texas Stands to Benefit
    Design: Darcy Taj; Content: Kunal Patel
  • Snapshot: Employers’ E-Verify Use Slows Growth of Unauthorized Workforce

Second Quarter 2017
Complete issue

First Quarter 2017
Complete issue

  • President's Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan
  • Texas Economy Shifting into Second Gear in 2017
    Keith R. Phillips and Christopher Slijk
    Amid an energy sector recovery in the second half of 2016, the Texas economy is positioned to return to its long-term pace of growth this year. However, a significant change in oil prices or further weaknesses in manufacturing remain risks to the outlook.
  • On the Record: A Conversation with Fred P. Hochberg
    Strains of Globalization Buffet Trade, Financing of Export-Import Bank
    Fred P. Hochberg just concluded an eight-year tenure as the chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. He discussed the bank and the outlook for trade during an appearance at the Houston Branch as part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Global Perspectives speakers’ series.
  • Spotlight: Anti-Money-Laundering Measures Challenge Global Banks in Mexico
    Michael Perez
  • Dallas Booms Through Texas Oil Bust
    Michael Weiss, Pia Orrenius and Laila Assanie
    The Dallas metropolitan division’s economy, buttressed by business relocations and consolidations, has expanded steadily since 2010, following the Great Recession. Growth sectors, which included business and financial services, defense and security, and transportation, powered Dallas and helped it pace the Texas economy after the energy price collapse.
  • Texas Housing Market Soars to New Highs, Pricing Out Many
    Laila Assanie
    Texas’ low cost of living has been one key long-term factor in the state’s growth story—sustaining the economy through oil booms and busts. However, unprecedented home price appreciation and tight supply of starter homes during the housing recovery have eroded this advantage.
  • Go Figure: Mexico’s Openness Makes Peso Vulnerable
    Darcy Melton, Stephanie Gullo and Pia Orrenius

Fourth Quarter 2016
Complete issue

  • President's Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan
  • Lingering Energy Bust Depresses, Doesn’t Sink Texas State Budget
    Jason Saving
    The recent oil price collapse has adversely affected Texas’ budget situation and slowed the growth of its rainy-day fund. While energy continues to play an important role in Texas, the state has been better economically and fiscally positioned than most other energy states.
  • On the Record: A Conversation with Adrián Mijares Elizondo
    Cinépolis Theater Chain Seeks North Texas Stardom
    Adrián Mijares Elizondo is CEO of Cinépolis USA. The subsidiary of Morelia, Mexico-based Cinépolis relocated to Addison, Texas, from Los Angeles earlier this year. The parent company is Mexico’s predominant movie theater chain. It has operations in 12 other countries, with a concentration in India and now the U.S., where it has 16 theaters with 161 screens. Mijares discusses the movie business and his company’s prospects in the competitive U.S. market.
  • Noteworthy: Inequality, Well-Being, Energy
  • Spotlight: Texas Has ‘All-of-the-Above’ Energy Approach
    Navi Dhaliwal
  • New Mexico Recovery Lags amid Energy, Government Sector Weakness
    Roberto Coronado and Marycruz De León
    New Mexico’s unique history is reflected in the state’s demographics and economy. Tourism, energy and government have traditionally driven activity. Although government once bolstered growth, it is now a drag. While new industries have emerged and trade with Mexico has grown, economic recovery has been slow.
  • Texas Border Cities Illustrate Benefits and Challenges of Trade
    Jesus Cañas
    Texas border cities, at the front line of North American Free Trade Agreement-driven economic changes, have found new paths to growth by taking advantage of trade-inspired commercial opportunities during the past two decades. Partly as a result, unemployment in the largest communities has declined.

Third Quarter 2016
Complete issue

Second Quarter 2016
Complete issue

  • President's Perspective
    Robert S. Kaplan
  • Risks Mount for Eleventh District Banks amid Energy Weakness

    Kelly Klemme and Edward C. Skelton
    The business environment has become more difficult for Eleventh District banks amid weak oil prices, challenging institutions that have heightened energy sector exposure. Tepid economic growth and a downbeat forecast also point to commercial real estate lending as an emerging area of concern.

    Video—Dallas Fed Insights: Risks Mount for Eleventh District Banks

    Dallas Fed business economist Ed Skelton discusses how weakness in the energy sector is affecting banks in the Eleventh Federal Reserve District—Texas, northern Louisiana and southern New Mexico.

  • On the Record: A Conversation with Annise Parker
    Playing to Houston’s Strengths: Internationalism, Energy, Innovation
    Annise Parker’s six years as Houston’s 61st mayor concluded in January. She was previously city comptroller and served on the city council. Parker, a second-generation Houstonian, earlier spent 20 years in the energy industry. She reviews her time in public service and the challenges Texas’ largest city confronts.
  • Once-Robust Wage Growth Stops as Texas Economy Slows
    Amy Jordan and Emily Gutierrez
    The energy bust has brought tougher times to Texas and other energy-producing states. The loss of high-wage jobs in energy and manufacturing has been indicative of labor market weakness and stagnating economic activity, causing some state wage measures to fall.
  • Noteworthy: Energy, Output, Education
  • Spotlight: Central American Population Soars in Texas, U.S.; Migrant Profiles Evolve
    Emily Gutierrez and Pia Orrenius
  • Houston Grinds to a Halt as Oil Industry Declines
    Jesse Thompson
    Fears of recession have persisted in Houston since the oil boom turned to bust at the end of 2014. The price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped 70 percent by the beginning of this year—a decline as large as the one in the mid-1980s that contributed to Texas’ prolonged recession.
  • Snapshot: El Paso Job Growth at Postrecession High

First Quarter 2016
Complete issue

Fourth Quarter 2015
Complete issue

Third Quarter 2015
Complete issue

Second Quarter 2015
Complete issue

First Quarter 2015
Complete issue

Fourth Quarter 2014
Complete issue

Third Quarter 2014
Complete issue

Second Quarter 2014
Complete issue

First Quarter 2014
Complete issue

Fourth Quarter 2013
Complete issue

Third Quarter 2013
Complete issue

Second Quarter 2013
Complete issue

First Quarter 2013
Complete issue

Fourth Quarter 2012
Complete issue

Third Quarter 2012
Complete issue

Second Quarter 2012
Complete issue

First Quarter 2012
Complete issue

Fourth Quarter 2011
Complete issue

Third Quarter 2011
Complete issue

Second Quarter 2011
Complete issue

First Quarter 2011
Complete issue

Fourth Quarter 2010
Complete issue

Third Quarter 2010
Complete issue

Second Quarter 2010
Complete issue

First Quarter 2010
Complete issue

Fourth Quarter 2009
Complete issue

Third Quarter 2009
Complete issue

Second Quarter 2009
Complete issue

First Quarter 2009
Complete issue

Issue 6, November/December 2008
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 2008
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 2008
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 2008
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 2008
Complete issue

Issue 1, January/February 2008
Complete issue

Issue 6, November/December 2007
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 2007
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 2007
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 2007
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 2007
Complete issue

Issue 1, January/February 2007
Complete issue

Issue 6, November/December 2006
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 2006
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 2006
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 2006
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 2006
Complete issue

Issue 1, January/February 2006
Complete issue

Issue 6, November/December 2005
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 2005
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 2005
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 2005
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 2005
Complete issue

Issue 1, January/February 2005
Complete issue

Issue 6, November/December 2004
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 2004
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 2004
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 2004
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 2004
Complete issue

Issue 1, January/February 2004
Complete issue

Issue 6, November/December 2003
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 2003
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 2003
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 2003
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 2003
Complete issue

Issue 1, January/February 2003
Complete issue

Issue 6, November/December 2002
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 2002
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 2002
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 2002
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 2002
Complete issue

Issue 1, January/February 2002
Complete issue

Issue 6, November/December 2001
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 2001
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 2001
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 2001
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 2001
Complete issue

Issue 1, January/February 2001
Complete issue

Issue 6, November/December 2000
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 2000
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 2000
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 2000
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 2000
Complete issue

Issue 1, January/February 2000
Complete issue

Issue 6, November/December 1999
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 1999
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 1999
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 1999
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 1999
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Issue 1, January/February 1999
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Issue 6, November/December 1998
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 1998
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 1998
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 1998
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Issue 2, March/April 1998
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Issue 1, January/February 1998
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Issue 6, November/December 1997
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 1997
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 1997
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 1997
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 1997
Complete issue

Issue 1, January/February 1997
Complete issue

Issue 6, November/December 1996
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 1996
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 1996
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 1996
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 1996
Complete issue

Issue 1, January/February 1996
Complete issue

Issue 6, November/December 1995
Complete issue

Issue 5, September/October 1995
Complete issue

Issue 4, July/August 1995
Complete issue

Issue 3, May/June 1995
Complete issue

Issue 2, March/April 1995
Complete issue

Issue 1, January/February 1995
Complete issue

Issue 5, 1994

Issue 4, 1994

Issue 3, 1994

Issue 2, 1994

Issue 1, 1994

November/December 1993

September/October 1993

July/August 1993

Special Issue/June 1993

May/June 1993

March/April 1993

January/February 1993

Issue 6, November/December 1992

Issue 5, September/October 1992

Issue 4, July/August 1992

Issue 3, May/June 1992

Issue 2, March/April 1992

Issue 1, January/February 1992

Issue 6, November 1991

Issue 5, September 1991

Issue 4, July 1991

Issue 3, May 1991

Issue 2, March 1991

Issue 1, January 1991

Issue 6, November 1990

Issue 5, September 1990

Issue 4, July 1990

Issue 3, May 1990

Issue 2, March 1990

Issue 1, January 1990

November 1988

Southwest Economy, published quarterly since 1988 by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas or the Federal Reserve System.

Articles may be reprinted on the condition that the source is credited to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.