El Paso’s Economy Will Keep Growing in 2018, Just Slower Than Last Year

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJanuary 10, 2018 1:56 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

A new report predicts El Paso’s economy will continue to grow in 2018, just at a slower pace than it did last year. It’s called the “Borderplex Economic Outlook to 2019,” and this economic forecast is issued annually.

Tom Fullerton is a professor of economics at the University of Texas at El Paso, who worked on the report. Fullerton attributes the slight economic slowdown, in part, to limited hiring in the public sector.

“The type of budgetary constraints that are affecting many government agencies at the state level, the local level, especially at the federal level are slowing things down,” says Fullerton. “And they’re slowing things down a little bit marginally compared to last year, but it’s enough to affect everything on an overall basis.”

Fullerton explains that because those public sector jobs are important to El Paso’s economy. Still, he adds local and state government agencies are expected to increase their payrolls by roughly 1 percent.

Overall the El Paso economy is projected to grow by 2 percent this year. That’s compared to the U.S. economy, which is projected to grow by about 2.5 percent.

At a U.S. House border safety committee hearing held Tuesday, officials sounded off on what they say are the biggest problems facing border patrol agents in the field.

Carlos Morales from Marfa Public Radio  has details.

Above all, Border Patrol officials say staffing shortages are still the main problem facing the agency today. This comes at a time when President Donald Trump has called for an additional 5,000 agents to be hired.

Brandon Judd is the President of the National Border Patrol Council.

“In the field man power equals response time. Currently we have agents covering large-scale areas where the nearest backup may be more than 15 to 20 minutes away,” Judd says.

Congress mandates the Border Patrol have a force of roughly 21,000 agents. But for the last couple of years, committee members say the agency has missed that mark by about 2,000.

Jon Anfinson is with a border patrol union in Del Rio.

“We need more in certain areas like big bend sector, for example. They’re understaffed. We also have a lot of agents in doors processing or doing other administrative work when hey could be out in the field,” Anfinson says.

The committee also looked at the role these staffing shortages play in overall agent safety.

The Houston Astros World Series Championship trophy is taking a Texas road trip. It will be making more than 100 stops across the state.

The tour kicked off Monday at a Houston Mattress Firm, which is sponsoring the trophy’s victory lap. Yesterday, it was at the Texas Capitol. There, Astros marketing director, Jason Wooden explained the tour is for the fans.

“With the trophy tour we wanted to give the experience of the 2017 season and have the fans relive that experience all over again,” Wooden said. A schedule on the team’s website lists the trophy’s upcoming stops.