There is little doubt that the state of our economy has been the topic of many discussions locally, nationally, globally. Mention this subject around the water cooler or at a local coffee shop and you are sure to receive a plethora of opinions. As Wall Street struggles to regain its composure, Texas is able to hold its head high. For the fourth year in a row Chief Executive Magazine has ranked Texas the top state for job growth and business development. Governor Perry sums it up by saying, “This recognition proves what millions of Texans already know: there is simply no better place to live, work and raise a family than the Lone Star State.”
As a result of this growth and development, Texas created nearly 94,000 jobs between December 2007 and December 2008. Texas’ unemployment rate is more than 1.5 percent below the national average. The unemployment rate for Erath County is 3.2 percent below the national average.
This is not to say that we aren’t feeling the effects of the national economic downturn in our area. But compared to national statistics, Texas reports relatively fewer job losses and lower unemployment.
I have been asked many times how our great city is fairing during these uncertain times. I am pleased to say that, despite the financial insecurity of our nation, our local economy remains stable. Stephenville’s reported sales tax from January 2009 is comparable to reported sales tax from the same period in 2008. Even with lower gas prices, residents are choosing to spend their precious dollars locally. While building permits for new commercial construction has shown a decrease, residential permitting has remained steady. New homes are being built and established homes are being renovated. Additionally, Stephenville has four new residential sub-divisions that are currently under active development.
With everyone being forced to tighten their belts, one might think that asking a business for a donation would be met with a slammed phone receiver. It should come as no surprise that this is not the case in Stephenville. Spring is synonymous with local banquets and auctions. Our generous community has, once again, stepped up to the plate to help out when asked to. One organization recently reported that they received more items donated to their auction this year than ever before. Despite a sluggish economy and economic instability, our residents have once again proven why Stephenville is the greatest city in Texas.
Nancy Hunter is the mayor of Stephenville. Her column appears monthly.