What Texas Manufacturing Needs To Bounce Back

The state lost thousands of manufacturing jobs in September – a trend that has continued for months. How can it recover?

By Alain StephensSeptember 30, 2015 8:30 am

More than 28,000 jobs – that’s what the manufacturing sector of Texas lost in the month of August, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ manufacturing outlook report. Despite robust job growth this year, the report showed those numbers essentially remained flat throughout September with few signs of improvement.

So how can Texas get out the manufacturing slump and back into the fight? Helping us determines that is John Diamond, a professor at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

Diamond says Texas is ranked second in manufacturing employment and first in exports. Most notable are machinery building and other jobs related to the oil and gas industry.

“I wouldn’t call it sustainable,” he says. “We’re kind of in the perfect storm… oil prices are down, the dollar is very strong, which is going to limit exports, and the global economy is very weak.”

For Texas, low oil prices are a “net negative,” Diamond says. Those lower prices will hurt the manufacturing sector.

Hear more in the audio player above.