The Texas economy continues to expand beyond oil and gas. The Lone Star State is now part of a massive shift in the nation's manufacturing base. A new Wall Street Journal report says 30% of all U.S. job growth in manufacturing over the past three years was in five Southwest states, including Texas. That accounts for more than 100,000 jobs. It also includes the region's largest steel mill, being built in Sinton, Texas by Indiana-based Steel Dynamics.
The manufacturing migration comes after a string of major businesses have relocated operations or built facilities in Texas in recent years, most notably Elon Musk's SpaceX and Tesla, as well as Apple, Amazon and Google. Vance Ginn, chief economist with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, says there's good reason companies and factories continue to come here. "You have relatively less government spending, relatively lower taxes, sensible regulations," he says. "Those things have just proven time and time again to be successful at creating jobs."
"For places like Texas and other Southern states, this just shows more evidence of the pro-growth policies that have been put in place in many of these states."
Ginn also cites another common theme among Texas and the other states where manufacturing is booming. "These are all right-to-work states," he tells KTRH. "The old manufacturing sector was in Northern states...those are places where unions have a stronghold on the labor market, whereas places like Texas that are right-to-work states don't have these high labor costs."
Ginn believes Texas can continue this trend, if our leaders stay true to the "Texas model" of a lean government. "As long as we can keep spending in check---which is the true burden of government---then taxes will also remain low, and the regulatory burden will also be lower," he says. "With less spending, less regulating, and less taxing we can have even more manufacturing business moving to Texas."