The mission of the South Texas Economic Development Center (STEDC) is to support and advance sustainable economic and community development in South Texas, particularly the Coastal Bend region. STEDC provides consulting, education, research and data services to community stakeholders, including government and economic development agencies, and businesses.
Rising from the pandemic, the Center is making a subtle shift in its mission, which now emphasizes progress that is not just a matter of economic growth, but also individual and social well-being.
Rising Costs of Living
As the economies of Corpus Christi and the rest of the nation are recovering from the pandemic-induced recession, the prices of most goods and services are surging as well. In addition to rapidly rising living expenses this year, Corpus Christi residents have been facing an uptick in the overall cost of living relative to the rest of nation in the past decade, driven largely by expenses on housing and utilities. Read the article online | PDF version.
Corpus Christi's Blue Economy
The relative sizes of different ocean-related sectors vary substantially across the three counties of Corpus Christi. The area is a renowned recreational fishing destination, but the commercial fishing industry has largely disappeared. While tourism has grown steadily, the region has been exposed to the ebb and flow of oil and gas extraction offshore as much as onshore. South Texas is poised to leverage Gulf Coast resources as drivers of economic growth, including oysters and offshore wind energy. Read the article online | PDF version.
Labor Market Anomalies
The economy has rebounded. Corpus Christi's overall employment is now about 96 percent of the pre-pandemic level, but many people remain out of work for different reasons. The area faces relatively high structural unemployment beyond the slack created by the pandemic-induced recession. Labor market shortages have created better employment opportunities for teenagers and low-wage workers. Read the article online | PDF version.
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. Read the article online | PDF version.
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. Read the article online | PDF version.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Local Tourism
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. Given the exposure of most local industries to tourism activities, the metro area lost an estimated total of 1,448 jobs and $520 million in business due to fewer out-of-town visitors to the region in 2020. Read the article online.
COVID-19 Dashboard: Impact and Recovery
The pandemic has not ended yet. But Corpus Christi is transitioning to a so-called YOLO (You Only Live Once) economy, which may well be a new normal. This dashbboard consists of two sections: The first section shows estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy by the end of March 2021, one year after the statewide lockdown mandate. The second section is a monthly update on key drivers of the area's economic recovery. Check back often to stay ahead! View the dashboard infographics.
COVID-19 Survey Ahead of New Normal
According to the survey responses, most businesses have reopened. Besides an uncertain economic outlook, businesses' top challenges currently are supply chain disruptions and staff recruitment. The majority of respondents valued the financial assistance from federal grants and loans, but many also attributed the new unemployment benefits to their hiring challenges. Read the Coastal Bend report online | PDF version | Report for Victoria Media Coverage: KIII, 4/16 | Caller-Times, 4/17 | KHOU (Houston) | Caller-Times, 5/20 |