Economic development is No. 1 priority

While the recession has been running rampant throughout the nation and pretty much around the world these past few years, what we’ve been hearing on the news, and in the newspapers has been a steady flow of negative economic information.

Couple that with this past year’s drought and it’s hard to be optimistic about anything. I’ll admit things do seem a bit negative at times, but there have been some things going on around us here in Texas that are going to impact us in Milam County.

I’ve already mentioned in a previous article the Eagle Ford Shale oil boom in south Texas that has a good chance of affecting us here.

The high price of oil has also revitalized the oil industry in west Texas and along the coast as well. Also cheap gas prices are revitalizing the petrochemical business along the Texas gulf coast.

But needless to say, the Texas economy, while aided by the oil and gas situation, is overall the brightest spot in the U.S., if not in the world.

Texas added 1.2 million jobs from December 2010 to December 2011 while the US overall has lost 1.1 million jobs during this time period.

One in every five jobs created in the U.S. between 2010 and 2011 occurred in Texas.

Texas population has gone from 25.1 million to 25.7 million in one year, 2010 to 2011. Harris County alone gained over 88,000.

There were 945 new homes built in the Woodlands last year and 862 in Cinco Ranch, two of the 5 largest gated subdivisions in the U.S.

Houston’s gross area product alone is around $350 billion, larger than many countries of the world.

During the recession period, land prices throughout Texas including in our area have peaked, but certainly have not gone down, as usually occurs during reces- sionary times. Volume has declined, but remains at a healthy level. Prices and volume are forecast to remain steady for the foreseeable future, but with the large amounts of money coming into the Texas economy in Houston and in south Texas, look for land markets to again be on the rise.

Financial analysts are reporting that most banks throughout Texas have funds available for business loans.

Forecasters are projecting that interest rates will remain low for several years into the future.

Household debt is actually down as consumers have gotten more conservative.

What does all this mean for us in Milam County? Here’s my take.

The population boom is going to affect us. It already has, in fact, even though not directly in numbers, yet.

Water, groundwater exports, reservoir construction, you fill in the commentary.

Roads, the need for county road improvements and permanent surfaces. Milam County land prices are going to continue to climb, rural home building will escalate more and more.

Economic development remains priority No. 1 if we want the right kind of growth for Milam County.

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2012-05-31 digital edition

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