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Texas: Leading Edge of the Economic Recovery


A strong energy industry and a diverse economy keep the Lone Star State at the top of the growth charts in jobs and new expansions.

Everything’s big in Texas, and that includes the economy. Even as the rest of the country has struggled to emerge from the recession, Texas has continued to grow in jobs and new expansions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas gained 14,000 jobs in June, and that brought the state’s total employment for the first half of 2010 to 178,700, more than twice that of any other state.

There are several reasons for the continued growth in the Lone Star State. To begin with, there’s the energy industry; one of the main employers in Texas, the oil and gas industry continues to fuel growth there.

“This industry creates jobs and generates products and services that have helped our economy lead the nation,” says Gov. Rick Perry. “We will continue to create an economic climate in Texas in which these businesses can not only survive, but thrive.”

Texas’ energy industry supplies 20% of the nation’s oil production, more than 30% of the nation’s natural gas production, a quarter of the nation’s refining capacity and nearly 60% of the nation’s chemical manufacturing. Texas’ energy industry employs 200,000 to 300,000 Texans, earning $35 billion in total wages.

But the state is not reliant on the petrochemical industry alone to drive its economic engine. In fact, diversity in industry is one of Texas’s strengths. No other state is home to more Fortune 500 and 1,000 companies; and Texas is the nation’s leading exporting state for the eighth consecutive year. Over the past 10 years, Texas created more private sector jobs than any other state in the nation, with the Texas unemployment rate staying constant at 8.2% in July, well below the national average.

And Gov. Perry continues to fuel growth in innovative industries by creating new tax incentives. The governor recently highlighted Texas’ growing biomedical industry and the life-saving therapies and technologies taking shape in the state at the opening of the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas in Dallas.

“Far too many people in Texas and around the world have suffered the pain of watching a family member slip away into Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders associated with aging,” said Gov. Perry. “This center will help draw researchers committed to the pursuit of better health into a collaborative environment of exploration and discovery that will lead to life-saving ideas.”

The governor emphasized the role of tools like the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) in fostering a culture of innovation in the state, helping to develop cutting-edge technologies and attracting top researchers and research dollars to the state. Gov. Perry also reiterated the importance of ensuring that young Texans receive an education in the science, technology, engineering and math fields, which will help prepare them to enter the increasingly competitive global workforce.

“All of these efforts combine to form a critical mass that is pushing Texas to the forefront of high tech industry, and will keep us there well into the future,” said Gov. Perry.

The TETF recently drew three new biomedical companies to the state from California as well. Gov. Perry announced investments totaling $9.2 million through TETF in three spin-out companies from InCube Labs for the development and commercialization of treatments to help patients afflicted by iron-deficiency anemia, epilepsy and atrial fibrillation. The companies are relocating to San Antonio from California, and are in talks with the Institute for Preclinical Studies at Texas A&M University to develop these treatments.

“Texas continues to be a leader in jobs, innovation and technological development, thanks in part to investments through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund which have attracted top researchers and cutting edge companies to the state,” says Gov. Perry. “InCube’s three spin-out companies have the potential to develop groundbreaking treatments for some of the most common and most challenging medical conditions we are faced with today.”

“The investment from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund completes a very strong partnership between the city, county, state and InCube Labs,” says San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro. “At the end of the day, this collaboration will boost our growing bioscience profile and create jobs in San Antonio.”

“Recognizing that there is more than a billion dollars of research conducted in Bexar County each year and more than $160 million invested in Startech startup companies in the past six years alone, one can see that InCube is taking advantage of the rich entrepreneurial talent and intellectual property generators in this area to supercharge their growth,” Startech President Jim Poage says. “The Texas Emerging Technology Fund once again demonstrates best- in-class results to show that Texas is ‘Wide Open for Business.’”

Read on to find out more about the cities and counties that are creating just the right environment for your company’s growth.

Austin: Amazing Mix of Commerce and Creativity

When it comes to business, it seems the whole world has a place in the heart of Central Texas… and that place is Austin.

If you are already familiar with Austin’s national rankings, like the number one spot on Kiplinger’s 10 Best Cities for the next decade, you can stop here and contact the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce to explore a prosperous regional economy; or you can keep reading and see how Austin is the right fit for your business expansion or relocation.

The Austin is a region defined by stunning growth, competitive business and living costs, as well as a youthful, well-educated population. It defies stereotypes; it is progressive and fiercely entrepreneurial, pro-business and pro-environment. It’s easy-going and hard working. Indeed, the Austin area won’t just welcome your business; it will work with you to make it more successful.

One of the top three most wired cities in the country, Austin has the infrastructure to support business, offering proven telecommunications, transportation, electric and water capacities that support major industries. In fact, its municipal utility, Austin Energy, boasts one of the lowest outage frequency and outage duration rates in the country.

Austin is leading the clean energy revolution with industry-leading wind turbine and photovoltaic manufacturers as well as support for clean energy research and development, biofuels and energy storage. The greater Austin area includes some of the most innovative clean energy research facilities and business support networks. In fact, the leading sustainability guide, SustainLane Government, ranks Austin as the top city in the country for cleantech incubation.

A digital media revolution is underway in the creative media industry and Austin is at the center of it all. It is home to creative professionals and technology innovators who develop everything from video games to digital music and cutting-edge films. A hotbed of creativity and commerce, Central Texas hosts a breadth of companies in the fields of production, animation and visual effects for film and television, music and technology, video game development, and interactive software creation.

Austin is a recognized tech hub and technology is a vibrant industry in Central Texas, welcoming both world-renowned software enterprises and scrappy, high-tech startups. The city supports more than 3,700 technology companies including automotive technology, software development, semiconductor, wireless and nanotechnology related businesses. It’s no wonder that the next generation of devices, platforms and software tools are being developed and manufactured in Austin.

Austin’s growing cluster of life sciences companies embraces the area’s technology infrastructure. The result? A region of both established and emerging companies that are changing the face of healthcare today. With its best-in-class research facilities, the industry is fueled by the availability of funding, research collaboration, clinical trials and skilled talent. Life sciences companies are focused on the highest growth segments and research areas in the industry, including specialties of biologics, medical devices, diagnostics, pharmaceutical, contract research and others.

Home to a number of corporate headquarters, an array of other global businesses operate in Austin, ranging from research and development, to manufacturing, to back-office facilities. And with the region’s extensive fiber networks, low incidence of natural disasters, plentiful land and skilled workforce, the region attracts data center facilities from throughout the United States.

Another of the region’s strong assets is the Central Texas workforce, representing one of the most educated talent pools in the country. Over 38% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree compared to 28% nationally, putting Austin in the top 10 among the largest metros. The region benefits from over 60 colleges and universities and 360,000 enrolled students within a 100-mile radius.

Austin is home to the University of Texas at Austin, a world-class research institution whose graduates in engineering, computer science, business, sustainable design and mathematics go on to lead the world in the most innovative companies. Our growing workforce is passionate and eager, with a median age that is four years younger than that of the rest of the nation.

Austin’s unparalleled quality of life is a clear benefit for companies looking to relocate a business. What better balance can a city offer than being both the “Best Place for Business and Careers” and the “Live Music Capital of the World?” It all comes together thanks to a beautiful natural setting, low cost of housing, favorable business and tax environments and a thriving, vibrant culture. Highly educated people around the world choose Austin for its beautiful Hill Country setting, creative vibe and powerful job market.

Central Texas is a region with an amazing mix of commerce and creativity that’s unlike any other in the country. Year after year, Austin consistently ranks at the top of lists for “best place to live,” “best place to work,” and “best place to relocate.”

For information on how your company can experience the “best of” Austin, visit the Do Business section of the website at www.austinchamber.com or contact the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce at (512) 322-5685.

Texas’ Economy Continues to Outpace the Nation

Measuring up to Texas is no small task. While the national economy begins showing signs of recovery, the Lone Star State has continued to shine through the economic recession that gripped the globe. With a diversified economy, reasonable tax and regulatory structure and solid incentive programs, it’s no wonder more than 1,200 people move to Texas every day.

Texas is without a doubt the best state in the nation to do business. Under the leadership of Gov. Rick Perry, Texas’ business climate continues to garner national and international attention. Texas is one of the few states to see employment increases over the last 12 months (May 2009 – May 2010), and has the lowest unemployment rates among the nation’s ten largest states.

These accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In March, CEOs rated Texas the number one state for business and job growth for the sixth year in a row in a survey by Chief Executive magazine. In July CNBC ranked Texas as the Top State for Business in its annual economic report. Additionally, Texas is home to the most Fortune 1000 companies in the nation, and no other state has more Fortune 500 companies.

Spanning more than 267,000 square miles, Texas has an abundance of natural resources, and is the nation’s number one producer of oil, gas and refined chemical products. Texas’ marketed production of natural gas represents one third of the U.S. total supply, and contributes roughly 5.3 percent of worldwide oil and gas refinery capacity. Texas is also leading the nation in wind generation and capacity, allowing the state to diversify its energy options and capitalize on the benefits of clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy.

Texas is also a top-ranked global destination for foreign direct investment. If it were a nation, Texas’ $1.18 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2009 would make it the 11th largest in the world, putting the Lone Star State ahead of India, South Korea and Mexico. Texas continues to enjoy its position as the nation’s top exporting state for the eighth year in a row, with more than $163 billion in annual exports. Texas’ biggest trading partners, Mexico and Canada, account for approximately 43 percent of the state’s total exports.

Texas’ expansive resource capacity and strong trade partnerships provide an incredible opportunity for business growth and job creation, and have helped establish the second-largest civilian workforce in the U.S. To continue providing a capable workforce for the future, the state is aggressively working to improve public education by pursuing higher accountability and graduation standards, and creating a more rigorous curriculum to prepare students to compete in the global economy.

Additionally, Texas has an estimated 1.25 million students enrolled in the state’s 143 institutions of higher learning, with more than 160,000 degrees awarded annually. This highly educated work force meets the needs of the state’s growing businesses and industries. The Lone Star State boasts the nation’s second largest pool of graduate engineers and graduate scientists, both life and physical.

To capitalize on Texas’ abundant resources and educated workforce, state leaders have implemented comprehensive legislation to provide incentives that further strengthen the state’s competitive advantage, both nationally and internationally.

At the governor’s request, the Texas Legislature created the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) in 2003, and has continued to reauthorize the program each session. This innovative, deal-closing fund provides incentives to businesses looking to expand or relocate to the state, creating jobs for Texans and strengthening the state’s economy. TEF projects are awarded based on potential capital investment, job creation, wages generated, financial strength of the applicant, applicant’s business history, analysis of relevant business sectors, and a project’s federal, local government and private sector financial support. To date, the TEF has created more than 55,500 new jobs for Texans and generated more than $14 billion in capital investment.

Another powerful incentive tool is the TETF, a $200 million initiative created by the Legislature in 2005 at Gov. Perry’s request to encourage innovation, research and partnership in emerging technologies between the private sector and Texas’ institutions of higher learning. To date, the TETF has awarded more than $234 million in grants.

The TEF and TETF are essential components in the state’s long-term job creation strategy, which is focused on six emerging industry clusters: Advanced Technology and Manufacturing; Energy; Aerospace and Defense; Biotechnology and Life Sciences; Information and Computer Technology; and Petroleum Refining and Chemical Products.

The advanced manufacturing cluster accommodates some of the most thriving industries within Texas including:

Plastic Resins:

• 2009 exports valued at $30.9 billion
• In 2009, this was Texas’ second largest category of exports in 2009
• Major employers include Chevron Phillips Chemical, Exxon Mobil Chemical, E.I. Du Pont De Nemours, INVISTA and LyondellBasell Industries

Metals:

• 2009 primary exports valued at $4.9 billion
• Texas’ eight largest category of exports in 2009
• Major primary metal employers include U.S. Steel Tubular Products, Trinity Industries, JSW Steel (USA), Gerdau Ameristeel US and Waste Management, Inc.
• Primary metals exports include the iron and steel industries

Fabricated Metals:

• 2009 exports valued at $5.5 billion
• Texas’ seventh largest exporting category in 2009
• Major employers include BWXT Pantex LLC, Berry Contracting, Naturalite Skylight Systems, Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America and TD Industries

Plastics and Rubber:

• 2009 exports valued at $2.5 billion
• Texas 12th largest exports category in 2009
• Major employers include Inteplast Group Ltd., Formosa Plastics, Poly-America, Pactiv Corp. and Dart Container Co. of Texas

Texas’ outstanding economic environment, beautiful landscapes, warm weather and famous hospitality have made it the ideal choice for people and businesses looking to relocate. Additionally, Texas is one of the most affordable places to live, and the second most popular U.S. state in which to retire, with the cost of living composite index for most Texas metropolitan areas lower than the national composite index of 100.

The Lone Star State’s sunny beaches, rugged mountains, endless prairies and piney woods provide a spectacular diversity of geography and wildlife. This same diversity extends to the people who call Texas home, creating a rich cultural heritage and unparalleled quality of life.

Texas’ predictable regulatory climate, low taxes and skilled workforce keep the state in the spotlight and attract jobs and companies from around the world. Prudent and fiscally conservative decisions have strengthened Texas’ economic infrastructure and proved that no matter the industry, Texas is “Wide Open for Business.”

To learn more about business opportunities in Texas, please visit www.texaswideopenforbusiness.com.

Midland: Nexus of Exceptional Assets

It is no wonder that expert after expert has recognized Midland as having exceptional assets, the kind of assets that promote sustainable growth when other parts of the country are struggling with challenges.

Midland has amassed distinctions that include being listed as one of the “Best Cities to Do Business”, ranked number one on Inc.com’s list in overall and small cities categories, ranked number one on the Milken Institute/Greenstreet Real Estate Partners’ “Best Performing Cities Index”, listed with the sixth fastest growing personal income in the Nation according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, has the third largest year-over-year increases in employment nationwide with 1,500 jobs added April 2008 to April 2009 and Midland was also the recipient of both the 2009 Texas Economic Development Council’s Workforce Best Practices and the Community Economic Development Award.

Though the awards and recognitions are true measures of the planning and performances of Midland; other noteworthy essentials to the vibrant business climate consist of Texas as a right-to-work state with no state income tax; a retail trading zone population in excess of 350,000; rail service, a major interstate and two airports including Midland International Airport (MAF). The city also boasts the La Entrada Al Pacifico—a West Texas Trade Corridor between Mexico, Canada and the United States.

A well-educated workforce is essential in a competitive global environment, and workers must be able to update and expand their knowledge as new technology and ways of working evolve. Post-secondary and higher education resources are readily available in the Midland area to serve the community. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin with an enrollment of 3,600 students offers bachelor’s and graduate degrees in business and technical areas, with an emphasis on segments that serve the Permian Basin oil and gas industry. Midland College, a level-two, comprehensive community college offers more than 50 fields of study, including programs in nursing, paralegal studies, aviation maintenance technology, aerospace manufacturing, oil and gas, and wind-related technology. And, the Midland College Advanced Technology Center (ATC), a partnership of Midland College and Midland Independent School District, is designed to deliver technical workforce education programs, enabling residents to acquire technical skills and certifications.

Other workforce development resources in the Midland area include the Petroleum Professional Development Center, the Center for Energy and Economic Diversification, Texas Tech University Health Science Center, Workforce Solutions of Midland and MakeMidlandHome.com—an interactive website created to partner Midland Employers with Job Seekers by providing useful information.

Commercial service daily to eight major hubs, border entry with United States Customs, easy access to Interstate 20, plentiful land and buildings along with business jet and a corporate airport with easy access to the Central Business District means there is room for aggressive expansion in a strong market ready for new opportunities. Midland has a business park with acres of shovel ready sites, some adjacent to runway for aviation related industries, an available Shell Flex Building (40,000 Sq. Feet) and available Hangar—30,000 Sq. Feet Office/Shop. Energy cluster, business and professional services, healthcare, transportation and aviation are some of Midland’s target industries.

Midland’s Central Business District (CDB) has over five million square feet of multi-tenant office space with the market approximately 89.8 percent occupied. Class “A” space—over two million square feet—is 98.8 percent occupied, with demolition of obsolete structures currently underway available sites provide opportunities for new development. And LiveMidlandTexas.com is an interactive website on downtown’s activities and opportunities via bloggers, calendar items and offerings.

With pedestrian friendly walkways connecting visitors and downtown residents to businesses, restaurants and other retail, the heart of the CDB, the newly renovated Centennial Plaza is adjacent to the Midland Center conference center and hotel facilities. The Plaza—with its fountains, greenery and fresh-air—offers a gathering place for downtown Midland.

The Midland Center offers the flexibility to accommodate meetings, conventions, trade shows, banquets and other events. As the host for events from small and intimate to large or formal, the Center’s proximity in downtown is ideal.

Under the leadership of the MDC, the Downtown Midland Management District and Tax Increment Finance District Boards are aggressive in both the revitalization efforts of the CBD and bridging public-private partnerships.

Midland is fortunate to have a very active Young Professionals organization over 300 members. The group has been an instrumental component of insight to the revitalization of the CBD.

Midland offers West Texas Friendliness and Landscapes with hospitality that provides an enjoyable atmosphere, community diversity, and well-developed neighborhoods—safe and beautiful for security inside the city. Healthcare is provided by numerous medical facilities, such as Midland Memorial Hospital, as well as experienced private physicians. Entertainment/cultural offerings from nightlife to festivals and events along with recreational activities and locations that such as parks, museums, and nature trails provide a vast source for experiencing the great outdoors.

Midland has minimal commute times without traffic and various retail and dining options. The city is also eco-friendly/conscious with a cost of living fairly lower than the U.S. average, approximately 17.10% less; making it easier to find the best to fit your wants and needs.

Texas is ranked number one for its wind energy potential according to the American Wind Energy Association. Through strategic partnerships, Midland is one the forefront of renewable energy. Midland’s collaboration with the University of Texas Permian Basin, Texas Tech University, Midland College, West Texas Coalition for Innovation and Commercialization—via the state of Texas’ Emerging Technology Fund—and other entities ensures Midland’s strong stake in the energy sector as well as the research and development within the emerging technology fields of wind and other sources of renewable energy.

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