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Ten reasons why the Texas economy is growing that have nothing to do with Rick Perry

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Rick Perry may credit much of Texas’ recent economic success to the low-regulation, small-government philosophy he has espoused, but some economists say that the governor’s policies aren’t the only (or even the primary) reason for Texas’ economic health…Here are ten of them:

1. Rising oil prices.

Rising oil prices have been one factor helping the Texas economy, economists say. When oil prices are high, job growth in Texas historically has exceeded that of the nation. He said Texas entered the recession late and came out early, mirroring trends in oil prices, which rose towards the beginning of the recession, fell in 2009, but have been steadily rising since…

2. Government growth.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, employment in Texas’ public sector has grown more rapidly than the private sector recently, with a 19 percent growth in government jobs compared to 9 percent growth in private jobs since 2000. Texas has added more than one in five of the public-sector jobs nationwide at local, state and federal levels…

4. No housing bubble.

Texas escaped the foreclosure bust that crippled other states’ economies – only 6 percent of Texas mortgage borrowers are in or near foreclosure, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, while the national average is nearly 10 percent…

Texas house prices stayed down during the bubble, so when it burst the state didn’t suffer as much as other regions…

5. Cheap immigrant labor.

You don’t need that explained, do you?

8. Fracking.

A decade ago, Texas oil engineers decided to combine horizontal drilling and a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which injects chemical-laced water into the shale to push out the minerals. The system has been effective in releasing previously untapped pockets of natural gas in shale formations, such as the Eagle Ford shale formation…

“That’s a pretty sparsely populated area that has not historically been very economically strong. It’s bringing a lot of activity there, and we’re seeing a lot of new millionaires being created.”

9. Texas Exports

Petrochemical exports have been doing especially well since the recession, and Texas has a big cost advantage in the industry, explaining some of the states’ export-prowess.

10. Drug Trafficking.

You don’t need that explained either. Do you? RTFA for all 10 reasons and the details.

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Written by Ed Campbell

August 2, 2011 at 6:00 am

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