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The 21st Century is the “Texas Century”


Texas continues to outperform the rest of the nation in job creation, creating more jobs in 2010 than any other state and achieving job growth nearly double that of other top 10 states.

“Texas is still the engine of America’s economy, and we’re proud to lead the nation in Fortune 1000 companies, international exports and job creation,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, while taking the oath of office for his third term in January. “These jobs are more than just statistics, they provide wealth and opportunity for our citizens and families.”

Texas continues to outperform the rest of the nation in job creation, maintaining an unemployment rate a point lower than the national average, creating more jobs in 2010 than any other state and achieving a job growth rate in 2010 nearly double that of any other top 10 state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas added 28,000 manufacturing jobs in 2010, while the next closest state added 13,400 jobs.

Texas’ economy also continues to receive national recognition. Newsweek recently ranked four Texas cities in its list of 10 cities best situated for economic recovery, and described Texas as the top destination for job-seeking Americans. The Wall Street Journal credited the state’s low taxes and employer-friendly environment with helping make Texas the job creation capital of the nation. Standard & Poor’s issued a report in October affirming Texas’ status as a national economic leader and touting the policies that made Texas one of the last states to fall into the national recession, and the first leading the way out. Texas also remains home to more Fortune 1000 companies than any other state in the U.S.

In 2010, Texas also was ranked, for the ninth year in a row, as the top exporting state in the U.S. Texas’ exports in 2010 totaled more than $206.6 billion, up 26.7 percent from $162.9 billion in 2009, outperforming overall U.S. exports, which grew by 20.9 percent in 2010. The state’s top export recipients were Mexico, Canada, China, Brazil and South Korea, which respectively imported $72.3 billion, $18.6 billion, $10.2 billion, $7.1 billion and $6.4 billion in Texas-manufactured goods. Additionally, Texas’ top exporting industries in 2010 were computers and electronics, chemicals, petroleum and coal, machinery, and transportation equipment.

“Texas’ ranking as the nation’s top exporter for nine years running is a testament to our strong economy and the importance of upholding low taxes, reasonable regulations, a fair legal system and an equipped workforce,” Gov. Perry said. “Although Texas has not been immune to the global recession, our commitment to these priorities has helped make us the best place to live, work and raise a family, and businesses looking to escape over-taxation and over-regulation know they can come to Texas for a better chance at success.”

The governor proclaimed that Texas is leading the way out of the current economic turmoil, making this century the “Texas Century.”

“We have the resources to meet our challenges, and the vision to apply them for a more prosperous future,” Gov. Perry said. “As we do so, our vision must extend beyond the next 140 days, into the next decade, and the next century.”

 

CORPORATE EXPANSIONS BRING NEW JOBS

Several large corporate expansions and relocations added to the tremendous Texas job growth numbers. Here are some highlights:

In February of 2010, Boomerang Tube, LLC announced that the company decided to build a new manufacturing facility in Liberty, TX to produce welded OCTG (oil country tubular goods) and line pipe for oil and gas customers in the United States and Canada. With one of the larger investments for 2010, Boomerang invested $200 million for the project and committed to employ up to 350 people once fully operational.

“We have great confidence in the future of this business and expect to quickly become a high-quality supplier to the oil and gas sector,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Gregg Eisenberg. “Our new, state-of-the-art equipment will allow us to offer a wide array of products to our distribution network. We are pleased that the playing field finally has been leveled for our business with the recent decision by the International Trade Commission to impose duties on imports from China.”

Perhaps one of the largest expansions in the state, in terms of job creation, was the announcement made by Sysco Corporation in April 2010. The company purchased the former Hewlett-Packard call center in Cypress, TX to create a shared-services facility for its North American distribution centers, consolidating services to a single point of contact.

Mark Palmer, vice president of corporate communications, says Sysco is undergoing a five-year “business transformation” that will centralize and standardize some business processes, which would mean the Cypress location could eventually employ as many 1,500 to 1,800 people with a mixture of transfers and new hires.

“We have a lot of distribution facilities around North America in both Canada and the U.S., and we’re going to provide service to those warehouses and distribution facilities from the location in Cypress,” Palmer says. “That’s different from what we do now. We buy a lot of food and then distribute that food to our customers, so paying our bills might happen at this facility, or a customer with a question about their invoice would contact the facility’s call center.”

Also in April, BL Technology Inc. moved their corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility to Tomball, TX. BL Technology, Inc. was founded in 1974 and has since grown to become a leader in providing control panels, system integration solutions, Access Control, CCTV, Intrusion and Fire Alarm solutions to a number of different industries. Today, BL Technology is recognized as the leading panel supplier, system integrator and security systems provider to Houston, in addition to working on numerous oil field, sub-sea, petrochemical and industrial projects. The company recently was ranked number 28 in the 2010 Houston Fast 100 of the Houston Business Journal by percent of revenue growth for the time period 2007-2009, with a 75 percent growth rate.

In July, The Apache Corporation committed to an expansion of their Texas operations with the creation of a new regional Permian Office in Midland, TX. Apache will occupy 48,185 square feet of office space in Midland and create 51 new jobs in the city. With a large presence in the Permian Basin since the early 1990s, Apache currently produces 40,000 barrels of oil and 100 cubic feet per day of natural gas from the basin. Overall in 2009, Apache produced 583,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and replaced 101 percent of production.

“Our focus on the Permian Basin will make a significant contribution to Apache’s projected growth,” says John J. Christmann IV, vice president of the Permian Region. “Our commitment to Midland is evidence of our confidence in the long-term partnership between Apache and this region.”

In August, Caterpillar Inc. announced that it would be expanding its operations in the state with a new 600,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Victoria, TX, investing $122 million and creating 513 new jobs. The company also will generate more than $100 million in capital investment with this expansion. Once fully operational, the new facility will triple the current capacity of hydraulic excavators produced by the company domestically, and double the number of Caterpillar employees in the U.S. making excavators.

“Caterpillar conducted a comprehensive review of possible locations, and Victoria’s proximity to our supply base, access to ports and other transportation, as well as the positive business climate in Texas made this the ideal site for this project,” says Gary Stampanato, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for excavators. “We are pleased to increase our operations in Texas with this new facility.”

Also in August, Marten Transportation broke ground on a new state-of-the-art facility in Desoto, TX. The new site, which represents an $8.4 million investment, will have more than 35,000 square feet sitting on a total of about 19 acres. Once the facility is open, more than 300 jobs will be created for a variety of skilled employees including drivers, dispatchers, mechanics, administrative support and more.

“With a combination of careful planning and ambitious goals, Marten Transport has continued growth and expansion during a challenging economic period,” says Adam Phillips, Senior Director of Operations. “This new facility will not only improve our operations in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, but it will also create hundreds of jobs. When we see unemployment at 10 percent or more across the nation, we are extremely proud to be one of the corporate citizens in position to positively contribute. The City of Desoto and the DEDC have been tremendously supportive during this process.”

JOB GROWTH IN ADVANCED INDUSTRIES

In 2010, the Lone Star State led U.S. job growth in each of the following sectors:

Port Freeport:Poised for growth

Port Freeport, TX is expanding in depth and width, as well as in economic impact for the state of Texas. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Port Freeport’s traffic has increased substantially in recent years. The port currently is a bevy of activity as it prepares to welcome increased shipping from the expanded Panama Canal. [Editor’s Note: for an in-depth look at the expansion of the port's shipping facilities, see March/April cover story]

Along with the widening and deepening project, Port Freeport has spent the past few years developing the Velasco Terminal having begun construction in 2006. Velasco Terminal is a 120-acre site designed to become an 800,000 container capacity terminal. Around 800 feet of the berthing line and 20-acres of back plan have been completed already. When it’s complete it will have 2,400 feet of berthing line with an operational depth of about 47 feet and have 90 acres of back land. Total build out is estimated at about $280 million.

Another project at Port Freeport includes a multi-modal facility with five unit trains of capacity designed in it. The port is working with Union Pacific Railroad to create the rail improvements and new rail lines on this $40 million project.

“When you look at these three major infrastructure investments, what you see is a positioning for the future,” says Wilson. “Not necessarily just for the Panama Canal, but for the future of this port and Texas and the U.S.”

Current growth projections for Port Freeport, even without the addition of the Panama Canal freight, are expected to be at a 10% to 15% growth rate per year for the next 15 years. Add to that the fact that the state is expecting a 30% to 35% growth in population and you can see why Port Freeport has become such a huge market for domestic and international business.

“We’re also surrounded by some of the largest plastics and chemical manufacturers in the world, there’s $20 billion worth of those kind of investments around us, so from an economic cluster point of view, we are a natural target for companies who utilize plastics in their manufacturing process so we think biomedical, automobile parts and accessories, would be ideal partners with us and the manufacturing clients that are nearest to us,” says Wilson. “When we’re looking at ourselves developmentally, and then we add the growth from the Panama Canal…I expect, not just us, but all the ports in Texas to continue to grow because we’re ideally positioned,” he said. “It’s the Gulf Coast’s turn and we expect to get our share of the investment capital, new business, new corporate relocations and new international marine and domestic distribution business.”

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