Tribpedia: Economy

With a civilian labor force of more than 12 million and a gross state product of $1.22 trillion in 2008, Texas has the second largest economy in the United States and the 15th largest in the world. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is one of many agencies that keeps track. The state comptroller stays up with key statistics.

Thousands of motorists wait in line on the southernmost stretch of IH-35 in Laredo, Texas. Despite a global recession and escalating violence in Mexico thousands of "paisanos" still made the trek south for Christmas. As the hours passed, however, their concerns about traveling Mexico's highways at night grew. A recent prison break in Nuevo Laredo didn't help soothe their fears about bandits lurking on the roadways. "We might have to get a hotel here," said one traveler.
Thousands of motorists wait in line on the southernmost stretch of IH-35 in Laredo, Texas. Despite a global recession and escalating violence in Mexico thousands of "paisanos" still made the trek south for Christmas. As the hours passed, however, their concerns about traveling Mexico's highways at night grew. A recent prison break in Nuevo Laredo didn't help soothe their fears about bandits lurking on the roadways. "We might have to get a hotel here," said one traveler.

Violence and a Sour Economy Aren't Enough to Keep Paisanos from Going Home

As he sat in traffic last Saturday on the final stretch of I-35 in Laredo in a truck loaded with U.S. goods, Higinio Navarrette was a microcosm of the holiday season on the border: an area where the local economy is as affected by security and cartel-related violence as it is by the nationwide economic slowdown.

Factory workers in Ciudad Juárez assemble components for hair dryers on a manufacturing line managed by El Paso-based TECMA, an outsourcing company that had one of the best years on record in 2009. Last year’s success came despite Ciudad Juárez logging more than 2,600 murders.
Factory workers in Ciudad Juárez assemble components for hair dryers on a manufacturing line managed by El Paso-based TECMA, an outsourcing company that had one of the best years on record in 2009. Last year’s success came despite Ciudad Juárez logging more than 2,600 murders.

Despite Violence, Manufacturing in Juárez Climbing

So much for the economic impact of headline-making violence. Despite being on track to exceed 3,000 homicides this year, Juárez has seen its manufacturing sector flourish, regaining since July 2009 a quarter of the jobs lost during the height of the recession. More than $42 billion in trade value moved through the ports that the city shares with El Paso last year, and that number should be higher in 2010. And the amount of of tractor-trailer traffic hauling goods through the region was 22 percent greater in the first six months of this year than it was in the same period last year.

Unemployment Benefits Set to Run Out for Many

New jobless numbers show that the nation as a whole added fewer jobs than expected last month. Here in Texas, things appear better, but there are still plenty of people out of work — and as Matt Largey of KUT News reports, the job market can be an especially daunting place for those who are out of work the longest.
More jobs in Texas...but more people looking too.
More jobs in Texas...but more people looking too.

Texas Unemployment Rate Stays Flat in October

Texas added almost 48,000 jobs from September to October this year according to the Texas Workforce Commission. Ben Philpott reports for KUT News and the Texas Tribune on the numbers below the job gains.

What's Next for Manned Space Exploration?

As the nation's shuttle program moves toward its scheduled end next year, observers are asking: What's next for manned space exploration? Ben Philpott reports on how federal funding changes for NASA will determine the answer.

Final Shuttle Missions Signal Change for NASA

What happens after Discovery, the next-to-last shuttle mission, blasts off Monday from Kennedy Space Center (with an Austin astronaut aboard)? For thousands of engineers and support staff at the Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake, the answer isn’t certain. Matt Largey of KUT News contemplates the impact of the transition to the next phase of NASA's mission in space.
Members of the Los Padres and INYO C-25 firefighting teams from Oregon and California walk shoulder-to-shoulder through fields outside this north Texas town as the search for Columbia space shuttle debris  Photo
Members of the Los Padres and INYO C-25 firefighting teams from Oregon and California walk shoulder-to-shoulder through fields outside this north Texas town as the search for Columbia space shuttle debris Photo

Shuttle Disasters Changed the Space Program

NASA lost two shuttles, Challenger and Columbia, during the space shuttle program’s 30-year history. After each accident, the agency was never quite the same. Jennifer Stayton of KUT News recently talked about those tragedies with Pat Duggins, who reports on NASA for NPR and is the author of Final Countdown: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program.

How NASA Came to Texas

Discovery is on the launch pad and prepped for a Monday blast off — the second-to-last confirmed mission. For many Americans, the finale of the space shuttle program is poignant and yet somewhat suspenseful. What comes next? In part two of our week-long series on what the shuttle has meant to Texas, KUT’s Mose Buchele reports that, despite its lofty goals, the program has always had a down-to-earth side.

An Aural History of the Space Shuttle Program

The nation's space shuttle program is being retired next year after three decades and more than 133 flights — including the final voyage by Discovery, which is set to blast off in a few days. All this week, KUT News is reconstructing the program's history: how it started, how it will end and what that means for Texas. Reporters Nathan Bernier and Jennifer Stayton kick off our five-part series.

Texas Business Tax Could Increase in 2012

Despite the prospect of a $21 billion budget shortfall, the governor, the lieutenant governor and several state lawmakers have insisted that the upcoming legislative session will be a "no-tax-increase session." But as Erika Aguilar of KUT News reports, small businesses in Texas could still end up paying more taxes.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Sept. 13, 2010

Ramsey on the fourth University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll (with insights into the statewide races, issues, the budget, and Texans' view of the national scene), Hamilton and Thevenot in Galveston on the anniversary of Hurricane Ike, Ramshaw on secret hearings that separate children from their guardians, Hu on what former state Rep. Bill Zedler did for doctor-donors who were under investigation, Aguilar on the troubles around Mexico's bicentennial, Galbraith talks coal and wind with the head of the Sierra Club, E. Smith interviews state Rep. Debbie Riddle about tourism babies and godless liberals, Grissom on why complaints about city jails go unaddressed, Philpott on the debate that will apparently never happen and Stiles continues to put the major-party gubernatorial candidates on the map: The best of our best from September 13 to 17, 2010.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 9/6/10

Galbraith's three-parter on the battle over wind power transmission lines, Grissom on a convicted killer who got probation, Aguilar on how the U.S. census counts inmates in the Texas prison system, Stiles launches a new interactive tool tracking the candidates for governor, Hamilton on the Texas A&M University System's latest accountability measure for faculty, Hu's interview with Democratic megadonor Steve "Back to Basics" Mostyn, Philpott on how the Texas economy compares to that of other states and Ramsey on the start of the 2010 election sprint: The best of our best from Sept. 6 to 10, 2010.

Larger bubbles represent more companies from those countries doing business in Texas.
Larger bubbles represent more companies from those countries doing business in Texas.

Visualizing Foreign Businesses in Texas

Texas.gov, the state's clearinghouse for services like driver's license renewals and vehicle registrations, has launched a new page featuring numerous raw government data sets — including a list of foreign companies doing business here.

How Does the Texas Economy Stack Up — Really?

Rick Perry asserts the Texas economy is one of the strongest in the nation. Bill White eagerly points out what he says are the problems the governor conveniently overlooks. Who's right? Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune looks at how we stack up compared to other states — and our own history.

On Katrina Anniversary, Austinite Heads for N.O.

As New Orleans measures how far it has come since Hurricane Katrina — and how far it has to go — an Austin man who was an aide to Mayor Will Wynn in 2005 traveled to the Big Easy to put some ghosts to rest. He talked with Matt Largey of KUT News.

Perry and White Separately Speak to Broadcasters

Gov. Rick Perry and his Democratic challenger, Bill White, appeared on the same stage in Austin on Thursday. But anyone itching for a debate between the two was disappointed. The candidates were separated on the schedule by other speakers and were never even in the room at the same time. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune filed this report.

Downturn Also Affects Those Who Have Jobs

As the nation’s unemployment rate hovers around 9.5 percent, the jobless are hardest hit by the poor economy. But as Mose Buchele of KUT News reports, the stress of working through the downturn is also taking a toll on those who have jobs.