Dear Texas Economic Development Stakeholders,
The Lone Star State’s economy is roaring back! Texas employers have added back more than 1.1 million jobs since the peak of the pandemic’s impact. We have experienced job growth in 13 of the last 14 months and the unemployment rate has dropped to 6.5%. This success is due primarily to our state's economic framework, which promotes business growth and allows Texas businesses and entrepreneurs the freedom to flourish. Be sure to check out Governor Greg Abbott’s recent press release and video for more on our state's continued economic expansion. In this month’s newsletter, we’ll update you on our economy, new projects announced, as well as exciting updates on our growing space industry. Be sure to follow us on social media for the latest information on webinars and events, recent news and other economic development information from our office.
Texas Economic Snapshot: June 2021
Unemployment Rate: 6.5%
Workforce: 14 million
Leisure & Hospitality: 19,000 jobs added
Professional & Business Services: 13,200 jobs added Education & Health Services: 9,500 jobs added
Texas Charting a New Course for Space Tourism
Texas has a long history in human spaceflight and today, Texas is at the center of the burgeoning space industry. As a leader in space tourism, Texas is home to state-of-the-art test sites for several commercial space firms. Innovation in spacecraft manufacturing and testing is happening across the state, from Brownsville and Harlingen in the Rio Grande Valley, to McGregor and Austin in Central Texas, to Midland and Van Horn in West Texas.
Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos, conducts flight tests of its prototype vehicles in Van Horn. In July, the company launched its first suborbital flight with passengers, which flew the youngest and oldest astronauts into space in history. SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, has test sites in Boca Chica and McGregor. The company is planning to launch its first orbital space flight by the end of 2021. The flight will be the first step in flying humans to Mars. In addition, Houston is slated to be the home of the world’s first commercial space station builder, AXIOM Space. The Johnson Space Center located in Houston, is home to the Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO), which invests in the development of private transportation systems capable of ferrying both cargo and human crews to the International Space Station (ISS).
Aerospace and aviation are critical industries to the Lone Star State. EDT is home to the Office of Aerospace & Aviation and the Governor’s Aerospace & Aviation Advisory Committee. In 2003, the Texas Legislature created the Spaceport Trust Fund (STF) to support Spaceport Development Corporations in the state by reimbursing the infrastructure development necessary for creating spaceports. This past legislative session, the 87th Legislature appropriated $10 million for the STF. Three county Space Development Corporations (SDC) have received funds from the STF: Cameron SDC, Midland SDC and McLennan SDC. The Texas Enterprise Fund has also awarded more than $41 million to aerospace, aviation and defense companies committed to creating close to 4,000 new jobs. These innovative companies that have chosen Texas for their operations are ensuring the Lone Star State continues to lead the future of space exploration.
Business Facilities 2021 Global, State & Metro Rankings
Business Facilities released their 2021 State, Metro & Global Rankings Report at the end of July. It is no surprise that Texas dominated the charts on this year's awards with 47 total rankings, including five #1 rankings! We'd like to say congratulations to all of the honorees and express our appreciation for our economic development partners across the state. Your hard work is keeping Texas at the top of the leader board. Congratulations!
Recent Project Announcements
Texas is a great place for business for many reasons. The Lone Star State is ranked the Best State for Business by CEOs and national publications. Companies are relocating or expanding to Texas for several reasons: our robust infrastructure system, our diverse and productive workforce (the second largest in the nation), our reasonable regulatory climate and the exceptional quality of life that Texans enjoy every day. Visit our "Why Texas?" webpage to learn more about the advantages of choosing Texas. Here are some of our recently announced projects:
Optimus Steel in Orange County: Optimus Steel is establishing a new rebar line and coil handling facility in Orange County. The project will create more than 50 new jobs and $40 million in capital investment. A Texas Enterprise Fund grant of $485,000 was extended to the company.
REE in Austin: Israel-based automotive manufacturer, REE, announced plans to open their U.S. headquarters and first integration facility in Austin. The facility will create more than 150 new jobs over the next few years.
Three Projects in Abilene: The Development Corporation of Abilene announced three new projects: Hendrick Health’s new service center, Abilene Christian University’s new nuclear energy lab and Primal Pet Group’s expansion in the area. The projects will create more than $76 million in capital investment and 250 new jobs.
Taking Home the Gold!
The Texas Economic Development & Tourism Office is proud to take home the 2021 Gold Shovel and Manufacturing Project of the Year Award from Area Development Magazine. Thanks to all of our community partners! This recognition would not be possible without close collaboration at the local, regional and state level, which is the foundation of economic development in Texas. Thank you for helping Texas achieve these successes!
“It ain’t bragging if it's true!” Here are some of the recent accolades Texas has received:
WalletHub's list of Best States to Start a Business ranked Texas #1 in 2021.
Texas is home to three of the top ten most affordable cities to start a coding career, according to Coding Dojo's Ranking: Dallas #1, Leander #2 and Houston #6.
CNBC's list of America's Top States for Business in 2021 ranked Texas at #4.
U.S. News & World Report's list of Best Places to Live ranked Austin #5, Dallas-Fort Worth #37, Houston #39, San Antonio #75, Killeen #114, Beaumont #124, Corpus Christi #129, El Paso #131, McAllen #139 and Brownsville #140.
Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio all rank in the top 50 of CBRE's 2021 Scoring Tech Talent.
2ThinkNow's ranking of the Top 100 World's Most Innovative Cities ranked Dallas-Fort Worth at #6 and Houston at #8.
Houston is ranked #7 among large cities on fDi Intelligence's list of America's Cities of the Future. Plano and Irving ranked #9 and #10, respectively, among small cities.
The Points Guy ranked two Texas airlines in the Top 10 Best U.S. Airlines: Southwest #2 and American #5.
President Cortizo of Panama Visits Texas
The trading relationship between Texas and Panama is significant as Texas is Panama’s #1 trading partner among all U.S. states. President Laurentino Cortizo of Panama visited Austin on a trip to Texas in July to celebrate the strong partnership between the two economies. President Cortizo also attended an event hosted by the Texas Economic Development Corporation and ProPanama, which included Texas government officials, the CEOs of Texas-based companies and a delegation of Panamanian officials.
EDT’s Executive Director, Adriana Cruz, attended the Panama-Texas Business Summit in late July to explore partnership opportunities between Texas and Panama. In 2020, total trade between the two markets was more than $2 billion. Future growth is expected to be bolstered by the expansion of the Panama Canal, which connects Texas to global markets. Read more about Texas and Panama.
Interested in working with the best state economic development team in the country? The Governor's Office is hiring! There are multiple positions for experienced professionals in Business & Community Development, Travel Texas and the Texas Workforce Investment Council. Business & Community Development has openings for experienced Project Coordinators who assist companies looking to relocate or expand to Texas though site selection, working with local communities and navigating state incentive programs. For more information on available positions, visit gov.texas.gov/employment.
In the News
AllianceTexas' Mobility Innovation Zone plans to partner with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to begin research on the future of mobility. The partnership will conduct research, strategize initiatives and seek innovation for the inevitable move to autonomous mobility for both commercial and personal use.
University of Texas at Dallas' Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science is responding to the growing need for tech professionals. The school will be offering a 26-week coding, cybersecurity and data analytics boot camp to supply students with the knowledge and skills to be placed in high-paying, high-demand tech jobs.
UTSA has joined the distinguished Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR), based in Washington D.C. The purpose of GUIRR is to improve the nation's research enterprise by exploring the important issues to global leaders in science and technology. UTSA is on its way to become eligible for the National Research University Fund, which will continue to put the school on the global stage for research and prestige.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has been awarded a $10 million grant by the U.S. Department of Labor, which will support the development of registered apprenticeship programs in Texas. The programs are key to expanding the workforce in Texas and ensuring that workers are equipped for the industries that need them most.