economic pulse

Current Issues


Economic Pulse articles aim at providing data-driven analytics that could be used by lay business owners, policymakers, and the general public. The common thread among these articles is the focus on regional economic development, particularly in South Texas.


Collection on ArcGIS Storymaps ... 

Advancing Education Equity ...

Like the state, Corpus Christi has fallen short of meeting the educational attainment target for achieving the 60x30 goal. The number of higher education completions has been rising among minority populations, but not enough to close existing gaps. Education equity sets the stage for health equity in addition to workforce development.

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Coastal Bend Economic Development Strategy ...

This is an excerpt of a key section of the CEDS report, Goals and Strategic Actions, which highlights economic development priorities from the collective perspectives of committee members. The full report also contains a profile of the region and its economy, followed by an overview of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, or SWOT analysis.

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Regional Population Growth in 2020 ...

The latest Census indicates that the Coastal Bend continued to stay behind the state in population growth during 2020. Outmigration has slowed down, following a strong migration flow into the state that will likely continue for some time. The overall educational attainment of the region remained behind the state and nation, raising a barrier for its economy to bounce back from the pandemic.

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The Impact of COVID-19 on Local Tourism and the Economy ...

COVID-19 has led to substantially higher unemployment in the hospitality sector than the rest of the regional economy since April 2020. Corpus Christi lost an estimate of 1,066 jobs and $30 million in wage earnings directly associated with reduced visitor spending in the area.

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COVID-19 and Mobility Waves ...

Soon after the state rescinded its business capacity restrictions in March, foot traffic at most businesses returned to their pre-pandemic levels. Despite improvement in residents' overall mobility, they have continued to spend about 20% more time at home. Work from home and online learning now account for most of the extra time people spend at home

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Lodging Industry Rebound as Driver for Local Recovery ...

The hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Except those downtown convention and conference hotels, motels in Corpus Christi have fared relatively better than those in other cities. The area's beaches and coastal environment will likely continue to attract visitors in the face of the pandemic.

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New Business Boom in the COVID-19 Economy ...

The U.S. economy stands alone in creating the most business startups amid the pandemic. By helping transform the post-COVID economy, these new businesses are poised to raise employment and productivity growth in the long run.

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Year 2020 in Review ...

Like the rest of Texas, Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend sustained record-high unemployment and job losses during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But since then, Corpus Christi has trailed other metros in economic recovery due to its reliance on the energy and hospitality industries --both have been hit particularly hard.

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Understanding Economic Development ...

The top strength of the regional economy stems from the Port of Corpus Christi, which contributes infrastructure for economic growth through an emerging industrial manufacturing sector. The region's competitiveness is constrained by a lack of a highly educated, skilled workforce. Opportunities for future growth abound: The Port is poised to expand its export capacity; current rapid growth near Austin could potentially spill over to South Texas. One major threat to the community is rapid industrial development that would arguably diminish the quality of life in some neighborhoods.

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COVID-19 Impacts: Urban Flight ...

Despite a deep economic contraction, the housing markets of Corpus Christi and Texas remain tight. In response to the growing desire for space over density, an urban flight has emerged in large metro areas across the nation. Growing housing demand in Corpus Christi, especially in its coastal communities, may potentially reverse the decades-long outmigration of residents to other Texas metro areas with relatively more job opportunities and amenities, such as Austin and San Antonio.

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COVID-19: Lives or Likelihoods ...

Using a popular epidemiology model, we make projections for the numbers of COVID-19 infections under different hypothetical scenarios. Model predictions help us better understand the current policy dilemma between public health and reviving the regional economy. Drawing on available labor market data during the ongoing pandemic, we find the cost of shutting down businesses in terms lost wage earnings for each infection or death avoided to be at least twice as much for the local area as for Texas as a whole.

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Costs of Ozone Nonattainment ...

Should Corpus Christi fail to meet the EPA ozone standards, the metro area would face economic losses between $600 million and $1.7 billion each year. Such costs include explicit costs for construction permits, pollution controls, vehicle inspections, and educational programs; and losses of economic activity due to industrial and road construction delays, as well as lost industrial development opportunities. The economic consequences of the stay-at-home orders in April underscore the tradeoff between economic vitality and a healthy environment.

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Record Unemployment ...

Corpus Christi's unemployment rate surged to a record level of 15.8 percent in April. Unlike the rest of Texas, the area faces a double whammy as a result of its exposure to the hospitality and energy sectors, both of which have been hit hardest during the COVID-19 pandemic. As social distancing has begun to wind down, businesses and the overall economy are gradually returning to a new normal.

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COVID-19: Early Weeks of Recovery ...

We look at GIS-based real-time data that offer insights into the impact of stay-at-home orders on businesses and the economy. Governments' lockdown orders alone did not shut down the economy, and some businesses did not reopen immediately after those orders expired. The local economy has been reopening gradually since Easter, and recovery will likely take the shape of a Nike swoosh instead of a V-shaped rebound.

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COVID-19: Altering Policy Tradeoffs ...

The focus of this article is policy that may potentially alter the usual tradeoffs between actions to combat the coronavirus outbreak and damage to the economy. Those policy strategies and lessons around the world are not conventional monetary and fiscal policies aimed to stabilize the economy, but some of them can be adopted by policymakers to reopen businesses without substantially raising the public health risk. Most effective policies take into account differences among regions, industries, and occupations.

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COVID-19: Geographic and Demographic Differences in Economic Pain ...

Current policy actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 disproportionately affect the economy of Corpus Christi. Compared with a typical U.S. city, social distancing affects relatively more businesses and employees in the area with a sizable hospitality sector. A stay-at-home order affects the livelihoods of relatively more of the area workforce that cannot work remotely. As a result, the public health crisis has led to social injustice locally as the Hispanic population and the working poor suffer more economic injury than others do.

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COVID-19: Outbreak and Impact ...

The article addresses two questions. The first question concerns the origin of the virus outbreak during its early days, highlighting the downsides of a top-down, command-and-control political system and recent global trends. The second question concerns COVID-19's local economic impacts that also depend on the extent of resilience in the community.

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30x60 Progress ...

There is evidence in support of progress towards reaching the 60x30 goal statewide as well as locally. As for the state, the region and school districts have shown steady improvement in standard test performance. Low graduation rates in the region's postsecondary institutions, particularly in comparison with local high school graduation rates, reflect low educational attainment levels among residents in Corpus Christi relative to the nation. Still the region is making progress towards achieving the 60x30 goal with an increasing number of postsecondary certificates or degrees awarded in each year since 2015.

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Local Demographic Trends ...

The local population remains young on average relative to the U.S. population, but changes in the area's demographics have affected the composition as well as the size of the its labor force. In addition to an aging workforce, Corpus Christi's labor market has seen strong growth in the woman and Hispanic populations that are more likely to find employment in relatively lower paying jobs. The non-employment index, which arguably represents a more accurate measure of labor market conditions than the official unemployment rate, indicates substantially more labor market slack in Corpus Christi than previously realized.

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Local Outlook 2020 ...

Global threats and geopolitical uncertainty are weighing on our outlook for the Corpus Christi economy. When we bring the regions assets into focus, the picture is less fuzzy. Despite potential risks in the oil market and the overall global economy, the region is poised for continued growth in both the near- and long-term future, especially given better utilization of regional resources. This is an excerpt from a presentation given to the American Bank Board members on February 19, 2020.

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Inclusive Growth Workforce Gaps ...

We identify local economic gaps under the inclusive growth approach: (1) Gender gaps - Despite relatively high educational attainment, women are less likely than men to enter the workforce. Hispanic mothers with young children have the least labor force participation rate. (2) Demographic gaps - With a dou-ble-digit unemployment rate, the youngest working age group of 16 to 24 years makes up about one-third of the unemployed locally. Economic hardship falls disproportionately more on less educated Hispanics. (3) Wage gaps - Occupational segregation of Hispanics and women in construction and healthcare is correlated with their overall relatively lower wage earnings. (4) Technology gaps - The local Hispanic workforce is par-ticularly susceptible to automation in the future. (5) Talent gaps - The area seems to be losing its competitive edge in attracting high-skill professionals, while employees are not well informed about their on-the-job training opportunities.

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ABOUT Economic Pulse

Economic Pulse is a joint publication of the College of Business, South Texas Economic Development Center, and the EDA University Center at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

The primary focus of this newsletter is business, economic and community development in South Texas. Viewpoints and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi or Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center.