News Roundup: In May, Texas Manufacturing Productivity Hit A 12-Year High

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 31, 2018 2:41 pm

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

Much like the weather, Texas manufacturing was red hot in May.

That’s according to the latest outlook survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. One of the key measures of state manufacturing conditions is the production index – and it reached a 12-year-high this month. Emily Kerr, a senior economist with the Dallas Fed, says they also found that the labor market is extremely tight for these Texas factories.

“So, they’re having to pay more to keep their employees or to hire new employees and so I think that certainly fits in line with the shift we’re seeing where they’re having to resort not just to expanding their recruitment strategy, but they’re actually having to pay more money to hold onto people,” Kerr says.

About 70 percent of the manufacturers surveyed reported having trouble finding enough people to hire.

The largest doctor’s group in Texas will spend the next year pushing for changes aimed at curbing maternal deaths in the state.

Ashley Lopez with KUT News reports the group wants to expand access to health care and effective forms of birth control, among other things.

The Texas Medical Association worked with their members to come up with seven recommendations. Among them: more training for doctors and expanding care for women having babies. Right now, women on Medicaid are kicked off two months after giving birth. TMA says women should have access to a doctor longer than that. The group also wants the state to increase access to long acting reversible contraceptives like IUD and implants. The association’s outgoing president, Carlos Cardenas, says there’s a lot the state could be doing better.

“And there may be factors that we can’t control today that we may be able to control in the future,” Cardenas says. And our vision is to have zero maternal deaths, because one maternal death is one death too many. And life trumps death.”

The group also says the state could improve data collection. Last year, state lawmakers passed some measures aimed at preventing women from dying while pregnant or after giving birth. But the association says there’s still more to do.

Members of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies oppose the name change of a Texas Mexican-American Studies course to “Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent.”

The State Board of Education adopted the name during a vote in April to establish curriculum standards for Mexican-American courses. Emilio Zamora is one of the advocates mounting the protest and spoke with KUT News.

“We’re making this point that language matter and words matter. And that those words in particular are politically charged and they’re intended to place us in a position where we have to affirm our Mexican identity and suggest that we’re less American than others,” Zamora said.

Advocates plan to rally on June 12 when the State Board is expected to meet over the ethnic studies program.