COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – The oil spill in the Gulf and statewide budget cuts are the two big unknowns making it difficult to project what will happen to the Texas economy in the coming months, said Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines on this week’s Real Estate Red Zone podcast.
“We haven’t seen what, if any, true effects [the oil spill] is going to have,” Gaines said. “Those will probably be concentrated east of us here in Texas. We also don’t know those effects in terms of what they’re going to do to energy employment.”
Adding to the uncertainty is whether offshore drilling will be stopped.
“All of that is simply up in the air, and we don’t know what impact that will have,” Gaines said. “But we do know that in Texas, particularly in Houston and the southeast part of Texas, markets rely a good bit on the oil field service and the offshore service industries, and we don’t know what that’s going to do to the employment.”
Gaines said budget cuts at the state, county and city levels could also have an impact on employment across the state.
“Everyone is quite aware that at each level, their revenues are down, spending hasn’t been reduced, there’s a lot of pressure on controlling costs because tax revenues will be down, property tax revenues will be down and sales tax revenues will be down,” he said. “We haven’t seen that impact yet. We don’t know what it’s going to be, but we’re anticipating that there are going to probably be some RIFs, some short-term layoffs — if not permanent layoffs — of personnel. The extent of that is still unknown.”
To hear what else Gaines had to say, tune in to this week’s podcast. You’ll also find out how Texas is currently leading the country out of the Great Recession and in population growth.
Also, hosts Bryan Pope and Edie Craig cover the latest news out of Houston, San Antonio, North Texas, Brownwood, Montgomery and the Coastal Bend.
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