Keith Phillips, Dallas Federal Reserve (San Antonio Branch)

Posted by on Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 in Blog

Reported by Patrick Van Haren

In the past two years, the economy in Texas weakened sharply but did continue to grow despite the drop in oil prices. As a result, the Texas economy through the early 2000’s did much better than it did during the 1980’s, and better than the other energy states.

In the second half of 2016, the energy and manufacturing sectors stabilized and started to rebound. Job growth, as a result, picked-up and is growing. Recently, more optimism in the energy sector has led to further job growth in the manufacturing sector.

There is still significant uncertainty with the new administration and the potential for trade disruptions and significant impacts on the Texas economy, which has a high reliance on exports. The biggest risk to the forecast is thus a sharp decline in oil prices or exports.

Within Austin, job growth in expected to continue at or above the national and state averages at 3 to 4%. 2016 growth was 3.4% after 4.4% in 2015. Professional and technical services and construction slowed, but still show robust growth. Manufacturing has turned around and is growing at a moderate pace. Austin should expect tight labor markets which are likely to restrict growth.

The following summary for the April 25 lunch meeting was provided by the Executive Director:

President Dale Lowe called the Rotary Club of Austin (RCA) meeting to order. Ann Marie Ellis led the pledges and Tom Howard gave the invocation of the day. Whitney McKain led us in saying The Four Way Test. Margaret Curtis and Sharon Golden served as greeters and Whitney McKain was prepared to introduce our guests and visitors.

President Lowe, with assistance from Membership Service VP Michael Abelson, introduced our five (!!!) newest members Sylvia Holmes, Josue Limon, Melissa Muckenthaler, Chris Ray and Scott Spears. Welcome, everyone! He then traded Margaret Curtis a Blue Badge for her Red one. This was followed by Michael Portman presenting Judge Lee Yeakel with his Paul Harris Fellow +4 Award. Congratulations, Margaret and Lee!

Jon Yates announced a local volunteer opportunity at the upcoming Pecan Springs Elementary School’s Books For Me week. President Lowe then called upon Rod Simonsen, who shared why he became a Rotarian and why he stays a Rotarian. District Governor Bruce Golden reminded everyone to register now for the Annual District Conference coming up during the weekend of May 19-21 down in Corpus Christi!

Past President Sherry Workman and President Elect Sara Pantin high-jacked the microphone from Michael Portman to lead the Thank Goodness Basket. We had quite a crowd wanting to share news, including: Sherry, herself; Sara (Pantin); Carl Noble; Lee Yeakel; Michele Heyman; Ann Graham; David Palmer; Jim Bryce and Bob Bowman.

Allison Allen was then called forward to introduce our guest speaker for the day, Keith Phillips.

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