Texas Tea

South Texas Oil

I can’t say that I was very surprised to find out from various online sources last week that Texas is pumping so much oil from the Eagle Ford Shale formation in South Texas (among other oil-rich shale formations, some of which are not quite as well-along as far as drilling goes) that if it were an independent country, it would be one of the top fifteen oil producers. I am not one who follows this kind of thing, religiously – although where I grew up in Southern California, I remember seeing many a small rocking-horse pumpjacks scattered here and there, nodding busily away in the bean-fields and citrus orchards in Camarillo, or along the highways and back roads. It was just one of those things in the background. I don’t know if there are many pumpjacks left in So-Cal now. Probably not, although they are at least as unlovely as wind turbines and probably don’t kill nearly as many birds. I lament the loss of the place where I grew up, by the way; a place of citrus groves, and lonely hills, a rural, blue-collar and working-class kind of place, where you could drive in a single afternoon from a palm-tree desert to a pine tree covered mountain-top frosted in snow. Alas, it seems that the wealthy coastal enclaves drive California now, to the ruination of the places which I remember so fondly.

But I like to think of Texas as a massive producer of oil and gasoline, especially when the stuff gets to be north of $3.00 a gallon. And I should have so known that the boom was big, and doing good for South Texas, just by simple observation over the time that I have lived here, especially since I began to write historical fiction and taking long road trips – towards Beeville and Goliad and Port Lavaca and all – especially to Goliad, which we have done for a good few years now. It once was, going down 181, through Poth and Karnes City and Kenedy, or by other routes through Smiley or Stockdale and Nixon to other destinations. Four or five years ago, many of the little towns along the way appeared as if they were dying on the vine. There were so many crumbling storefronts – and the ones open for some kind of business presented a more forlorn aspect than the ones which had given up the ghost and boarded up entirely. Weekday or weekend – such towns were deserted by mid-afternoon. Even the parking lot of the Walmart in Kenedy was all but deserted the first couple of times we drove past.

We first began noticing the changes along about Christmas 2010, driving down to Goliad to take part in Christmas on the Square. Suddenly – there were oilfield developments, truck parks and wells, dotted here and there among the pastures and brushlands; newly paved and graveled, lit up boldly at night. There was a little more traffic on the roads and the small towns didn’t look nearly so forlorn. The crumbling motel suddenly was rehabbed, and a number of new cabin-style units added to the row of existing roomettes. There were lights in the café, new vehicles parked out front, and on the edge of town there were several new RV parks – which, since there were no golf-courses, lakes or riverfront amusements – were obviously for workers rather than vacationers. New housing developments were going in, outside of Karnes City and Poth – and the Walmart parking lot was full. We remarked on this, to some old friends in Goliad – long-time residents, who confirmed our observations. There were neighbors and residents who owned country acreage who had been scraping by on a shoestring for decades – and now they had regular and generous checks for leasing their land.

On the whole, this is a good thing – and a good thing to know that this new oil boom has bought some prosperity to places that hadn’t seen much of it lately. I’d much rather that some of what I pay at the pump for unleaded is going right back here to Texas.

Texas Boasts More Jobs Than Last Year

Texas Boasts More Jobs Than Last Year

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – All Texas industries and the state’s government sector had more jobs in February 2013 than in February 2012.

According to the Real Estate Center’s latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy, the state’s construction industry ranked first in job creation, followed by mining and logging, leisure and hospitality, other services, professional and business services and trade.

The state’s economy was robust, gaining 355,600 nonagricultural jobs from February 2012 to February 2013, an annual growth rate of 3.3 percent compared with 1.5 percent for the United States. The state’s private sector added 336,800 jobs, an annual growth rate of 3.8 percent compared with 1.9 percent for the nation.

All Texas metro areas except Texarkana had more jobs. Odessa and Midland ranked first in job creation followed by Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Fort Worth-Arlington and Corpus Christi.

Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent in February from 7.1 percent the year before. The nation’s rate decreased from 8.3 to 7.7 percent.

The state’s actual unemployment rate was 6.5 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate, followed by Odessa, Amarillo, Abilene, San Angelo and Lubbock.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, only 14 of the nation’s 100 largest metros have more jobs now than they did before the recession, and six of them are in Texas. They are Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, McAllen, Dallas and Houston.

Caterpillar Opens in Victoria

Gov. Perry Attends Grand Opening of Caterpillar Manufacturing Facility

Thursday, August 23, 2012  •  Victoria, Texas  •  Press Release

Gov. Rick Perry toured Caterpillar Inc.’s new hydraulic excavator manufacturing plant, which has been expanded thanks to a $1.175 million investment from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) in 2010. Caterpillar has already created 225 new jobs and will generate $200 million in capital investment with the new facility, and plans to continue hiring in Victoria.

“Caterpillar is no stranger to the way we do business here in Texas, and they’ve made it clear, through commitment after commitment, they like what they see,” Gov. Perry said. “We happily return that sentiment and remain committed to our successful formula of low taxes, predictable regulations, fair courts and skilled workforce that has made Texas’ jobs climate second to none.”

Gov. Perry also congratulated Caterpillar on finding the right place for this facility in Victoria and making the right call to build in Texas, and congratulated Victoria on officially becoming home to this manufacturing center which expands Caterpillar’s presence in Texas to include about 3,000 employees.

Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines. The new plant triples the company’s current domestic production capacity for hydraulic excavators, and doubles the number of Caterpillar employees in the U.S. making excavators.

“This new facility in Victoria will help us better serve our customers in North America, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to meet some of our newest employees and to see first-hand a factory that I am sure will be among the very best we have anywhere in the world,” Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman said.

In 2008, the company received an $8.5 million investment through the TEF to bring an engine manufacturing facility to Seguin, creating more than 1,400 jobs $111 million in capital investment. Caterpillar also has operating locations across the state, including Amarillo, Channelview, Coppell, Dallas, Denison, De Soto, El Paso, Fort Worth, Garland, Houston, Laredo, Mabank, McAllen, McKinney, Midland, Sherman, Waco and Waskom.

The Legislature created the TEF in 2003 and has re-appropriated funding in every legislative session since then to help ensure the growth of Texas businesses and create more jobs throughout the state. TEF projects must be approved by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House. The fund has since become one of the state’s most competitive tools to recruit and bolster business. To date, the TEF has invested more than $470 million and closed the deal on projects generating more than 63,400 new jobs and more than $22.3 billion in capital investment in the state.

For more information about Caterpillar, please visit http://www.caterpillar.com.

For more information about the TEF, please visit http://www.texaswideopenforbusiness.com/incentives-financing/tef.php or http://www.governor.state.tx.us.

Texas a Leader in Job Creation

In Case You Missed It: Business Facilities Magazine Names Texas Best Business Climate in the Nation; U.S. Chamber of Commerce Names Texas a Leader in Job Creation

Monday, July 23, 2012  •  Austin, Texas  •  Press Release

Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Texas’ strong jobs climate and economic pillars continue to receive national recognition, most recently from Business Facilities magazine, which has ranked Texas’s business climate best in the nation, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-National Chamber Foundation, whose Enterprising States study named Texas a leader in job growth and one of the states most likely to grow.

“These rankings echo what employers from across the country and around the world have long known – that Texas’ strong jobs climate allows them to grow and prosper thanks to our low taxes, predictable regulations, fair courts and skilled workforce,” Gov. Perry said. “Our commitment to these priorities has helped make Texas the best place to live, work, raise a family and start a business, and will continue creating opportunity for families in the Lone Star State.”

Business Facilities magazine credited Texas’ strong workforce, diverse economy and economic priorities with the state’s success. The magazine ranked each state’s education climate, workforce training/availability, cost of labor, infrastructure, utility costs, credit rating and business tax climate, giving extra credit to states that have business-friendly policies and incentives. Texas previously received Business Facilities’ top ranking in 2009 and 2010.

In the third edition of its Enterprising States study, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-National Chamber Foundation named Texas a leader in job growth, exports and entrepreneurship, and noted it is one of few states that showed more than eight percent job growth over the past decade. The study touts Texas’ exports, entrepreneurial activity, higher education efficiency and low cost of living as factors in the state’s economic success. The study also credits Texas’ economic development incentive funds, loser pays legislation and workforce development initiatives with strengthening the state’s economy.

The Lone Star State’s economy continues to receive national recognition. CNBC has named Texas the 2012 Top State for Business, and CEO Magazine recently named Texas the Best State for Business for the eighth year in a row. The Wall Street Journal has credited the state’s low taxes and employer-friendly environment with helping make Texas the job creation capital of the nation. Texas is also the nation’s leading exporting state for the tenth year in a row, and consistently ranks among the top states with the most Fortune 500 headquarters.

For more information about Business Facilities’ study, please visit: http://businessfacilities.com/news/business-facilities-2012-state-rankings-texas-takes-best-business-climate-crown/.

To view the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s full Enterprising States study, please visit: http://ncf.uschamber.com/library/enterprising-states.


Texas Economic Progress

Economic Outlook from Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts


  • The U.S. added 227,000 nonfarm jobs in February 2012. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 8.3 percent for February 2012.  Between February 2011 and February 2012, U.S. total nonfarm employment increased 1.5 percent.
  • Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 67,200 jobs during January 2012. Between January 2011 and January 2012, Texas total nonfarm employment increased 2.5 percent.
  • The Texas unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent for January 2012, down from 7.4 percent in December 2011.
  • The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 61 consecutive months.

Consumer Confidence Index

  • The U.S. consumer confidence index increased by 15 percent from January 2012 to February 2012, rising from 61.5 to 70.8. The confidence index now stands 2 percent lower than one year ago.
  • The Texas region’s consumer confidence index decreased 4 percent from January 2012 to February 2012, falling from 89.9 to 86.7 and is now up 7 percent from its level one year ago.

Oil and Natural Gas

  • Oil and natural gas production tax collections in the first five months of fiscal 2012 were 63 percent higher than during the same period in 2011.
  • After reaching a record high closing price of $145.29 in July 2008 then falling to a low of $33.98 during February 2009, crude oil futures reached a settle price of $105.11 on March 15, 2012.
  • Natural gas futures prices have followed a similar path reaching a summer 2008 high of $13.58 then falling to a low of $2.51 in September 2009. Subsequently, the price rebounded through the end of 2009 but has trended downward since then, closing at $2.28 on March 15, 2012.

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San Antonio Shows the Signs of a Healthy Market in 2012

San Antonio Board of REALTORS  January 2012 Sales Statistics

A five percent increase in sales shows the steadiness of the San Antonio market,” said Angela Shields, President and Chief Executive Officer of SABOR.

January 2012’s average sales price for single-family residential homes registered at $174,789 while the month’s median price was $141,200.

“This month, we saw a slight decrease in both the average and median sales price, but nothing to be alarmed about,” said Liza Reyes, SABOR’s 2012 Chairman of the Board. “Slight fluctuations are very common to the San Antonio market. San Antonio is known for being a healthy market and any healthy market will reflect little ups and downs, it is very natural.”

According to recent Newsweek comparison of the 200 largest U.S. cities, San Antonio was ranked third for its strong scores in business development; transportation and infrastructure; sustainability; and livability. This ranking comes just on the heels of the Boeing and Eagle Ford Shale’s announcements for plans to create more jobs in San Antonio within the next three years. The economic impact from Boeing alone to San Antonio is over $500 million dollars annually. Shields is optimistic. “It is easy to see why San Antonio is such a great place to live. With the expected job growth coming in from Boeing and Eagle Ford Shale in 2012 and San Antonio’s affordable home prices, SABOR is anxious to see the many benefits the housing market will most likely yield in the upcoming spring season.”

Market data is compiled from the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service report. The San Antonio Board of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade organization in San Antonio and represents over 7,000 REALTOR® members. SABOR is one of over 1,600 local boards and 54 state and territory organizations of REALTORS® nationwide that make up the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
Please visit SABOR.com for more information

Texas Oil Number One Job Producer Last Year


COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Texas’ mining and logging industry ranked first in job creation in the past year, followed by the professional and business services industry, and the leisure and hospitality industry, according to the latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy.

Overall, the state’s economy gained 205,100 nonagricultural jobs from December 2010 to December 2011, an annual growth rate of 2 percent compared with 1.3 percent for the United States. The state’s nongovernment sector added 261,200 jobs, an annual growth rate of 3 percent compared with 1.8 percent for the nation’s private sector.

Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent to 7.8 percent while the nation’s rate decreased from 9.4 percent to 8.5 percent.

All Texas industries except the information industry, construction industry, and the state’s government sector had more jobs in December 2011 than in December 2010.

All Texas metro areas except Abilene, Wichita Falls, College Station-Bryan, Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, Brownsville-Harlingen and Beaumont-Port Arthur had more jobs in December 2011 than in December 2010. Laredo ranked first in job creation followed by Corpus Christi, Victoria, Lubbock, Midland and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown.

The state’s actual unemployment rate in December 2011 was 7.2 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Amarillo, Odessa, Lubbock, College Station and San Angelo.

San Antonio Home Sales 2011 Overall Market Report

Overall 2011 San Antonio Home Sales Show Stability

by Randy Watson

The San Antonio Board of Realtors summarizes the 2011 San Antonio real estate market, stating that 2011 ended on a slow and steady note, but like the old adage says, “slow and steady wins the race”, and it looks like San Antonio is doing just fine.

The year to date median sales price of San Antonio home sales increased over 2010, up very slightly 1% to $152,000. The total number of sales for 2011 was 17,914, no change from 2010. The 2011 average sales price for a San Antonio home, sold at $185,516. No change from the 2010 average home price.

Mayor Castro expects San Antonio to create more jobs than any other Texas city. Angela Shields, President and CEO of SABOR said, “With no tax incentives, 2011 was San Antonio’s year to prove just how stable it is. Consistency in the real estate market is key to a city’s strength and San Antonio is a city that shows that time and time again.”

Reference: SABOR Press Release

November 2011 San Antonio Real Estate Sales Statistics

Written by Randy Watson

November 2011Off-Season Buying Trends Affect Housing Sales and Prices

The San Antonio Board of Realtors (SABOR) released their monthly housing report for the month. 1239 Single family residential homes closed, a 2% decrease from November 2010. The average price declined 8% for a single family home compared to November 2010.

“This month, we saw a sales decrease for homes priced between $200,000 and $500,000, as well as homes priced above the halfmillion dollar mark,” said Scott Caballero, SABOR’s 2011 Chairman of the Board.

  • 1,239 single-family residential homes sold in November 2011.
  • $174,861 is the average price of a single-family home, a 8% decrease from November 2010.
  • $145,500 is the Median price of a single-family home, a 5% decrease from November 2010.
  • Approximately 7 Months – Months of inventory in November 2011.
SABOR is preparing for its January 5th Housing Forecast. The event features real estate experts who will provide insight on market trends and will offer predictions on how the market will fare in 2012.
Market data is compiled by the San Antonio Board of Realtors Press Release from the Multiple Listing Service report.

October 2011 San Antonio Real Estate Sales Statistics

October 2011 San Antonio Real Estate Sales Statistics

Written by Randy Watson


The San Antonio Board of Realtors (SABOR) released their monthly housing report for the month. The October 2011 report indicated that 1349 single-family residential homes sold compared to 1285 homes that sold in October 2010.

“The healthcare, tourism, and defense industries have a major economic impact here, but there are also many financial services and manufacturing companies that provide opportunities for the local workforce,” says Scott Caballero, 2011 SABOR Chairman of the Board. “Eagle Ford Shale is said to bring nearly 4,000 jobs to the area as well. San Antonio’s cost of living supports the healthy economic climate. The steady, affordable housing market is proving to be a major piece of how San Antonio fares overall.”

  • 1349 single-family residential homes sold in October 2011.
  • $182,304 is the average price of a single-family home, a 1% decrease from October 2010.
  • $149,500 is the Median price of a single-family home, a 1% decrease from October 2010.

San Antonio ranked number 5 by USAA and military.com for Military Retirees to launch their second career. Forbes’ 2011 Best Cities for Jobs ranked San Antonio number 4 for large cities.

Market data is compiled by the San Antonio Board of Realtors from the Multiple Listing Service report.