Published August 16, 2020

Tracking the COVID-19 Economy

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, people’s social distancing behavior has been driving the overall business condition, which in turn has affected the employment prospect. Today, Corpus Christi residents on average spend about 10% more time at home than at the beginning of the year. More than one-third of residents work mostly at home. As a result of reduced foot traffic for local businesses, the area’s employment level remained 10% lower.
Jim Lee
Published June 30, 2020

COVID-19: Lives or Livelihoods

Using a popular epidemiology model, we make projections for the number of COVID-19 infections under different hypothetical scenarios. Model predictions help us better understand the current policy dilemma between public health and reviving the regional economy. Drawing on available labor market data during the ongoing pandemic, we find the cost of shutting down businesses in terms lost wage earnings for each infection or death avoided to be at least twice as much for the local area as for Texas as a whole.
Jim Lee
Published June 7, 2020

Costs of Ozone Nonattainment

Economic Pulse, 2020, Issue 10

Should Corpus Christi fail to meet the EPA ozone standards, the area would face economic losses between $600 million and $1.7 billion each year. Such costs include explicit costs for construction permits, pollution controls, vehicle inspections, and educational programs; and losses of economic activity due to industrial and road construction delays, as well as lost industrial development opportunities.
Jim Lee
Published May 29, 2020

Record Unemployment

Economic Pulse, 2020, Issue 9

Corpus Christi’s unemployment rate surged to a record level of 15.8 in April. Unlike the rest of Texas, the area faces a double whammy as a result of its exposure to the hospitality and energy sectors, both of which have been hit hardest during the COVID-19 pandemic. As social distancing has begun to wind down, businesses are gradually returning to a new normal. Locally, however, high unemployment may be here to stay as long as oil prices remain at current levels.
Jim Lee
Published May 18, 2020

COVID-19 Timeline

Timeline of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Updated weekly.
Jim Lee
Published May 13, 2020

COVID-19: Early Weeks of Recovery

Economic Pulse, 2020, Issue 8

Jim Lee
Published May 6, 2020

COVID-19: Nature is Calling

This week we pause with some observations on the environment before we will soon return to business as usual. The past month offered a good lesson on sustainable development.
Jim Lee
Published November 28, 2016

Impacts of Rising Seas

Economic Pulse, 2017, Issue 3

Corpus Christi is one of the Gulf cities most vulnerable to the risk of rising sea levels. This article presents estimated impacts under the alternative scenarios of higher water levels by two feet and six feet. Given the projected sea level changes, the impacts seem manageable, but the increase in economic losses would accelerate for each additional foot of higher water level.
South Texas Economic Development Center
Published November 15, 2016

Closing Income Gaps With Education

Economic Pulse, 2017, Issue 2

Survey data show that youth who grow up in areas with more manufacturing are more likely to finish high school and college. In regions with more degree-intensive employment, children born to parents without college education are more likely to be college graduates. Simple calculations indicate substantial returns on public funding of human capital investment that aims at closing the region’s educational and income gaps.
South Texas Economic Development Center
Published August 29, 2016

Seasonal Employment

Economic Pulse, 2017, Issue 1

Monthly employment and unemployment data for Corpus Christi show remarkable seasonal patterns. In addition to employment in the agricultural sector, local government employment displays a distinct regular pattern within a year. The seasonal factor could potentially bias an observer’s interpretations of changes in local economic activity based on the official data without seasonal adjustment.
South Texas Economic Development Center
Published July 6, 2016

A Tale of Two Oil Towns

Economic Pulse, 2016 Issue 12

Corpus Christi relies on the oil and gas industry as much as Houston does. Both metro areas have been resilient to the impact of the current oil bust. As construction and service-oriented employment is slowing down, the two economies are facing new challenges in light of heightened uncertainty about the near-term outlook.
South Texas Economic Development Center
Published April 28, 2016

Where You Live Matters

Economic Pulse, 2016 Issue 11

A growing body of evidence supports that the community in which you live matters a great deal. Where you live matters to your children’s future economic success and perhaps how long you live. Communities across the Coastal Bend fare well in offering children an opportunity to move up the economic ladder, especially those in poor families. The average life expectancy of local residents, however, lags behind the national average, particularly for the poor. Those findings underscore the role of the local government in promoting the long-term well-being of local residents.
South Texas Economic Development Center
Published April 18, 2016

Disparities in Local Business

Economic Pulse, 2016 Issue 9

Statistical evidence indicates that underutilization of local minority and women-owned businesses is pervasive and entrenched in Corpus Christi. The disparity gaps for those businesses are the outcomes of their rapid growth in number but not in size, measured by sales or employment. This highlights the importance of developing existing local businesses as opposed to creating more new businesses.
South Texas Economic Development Center
Published April 18, 2016

How Distressed Is Our Community?

Economic Pulse, 2016 Issue 10

This is part of the series that focuses on economic disparities in South Texas. The article summarizes the findings of the Distressed Communities Index for Corpus Christi. While the Index for the metro area as a whole is relatively low, indicating a relatively high living standard locally, the scores vary vastly across its counties and zip codes. Geographic disparities in economic prosperity affect long-term community development as well as individuals’ lifetime economic success.
South Texas Economic Development Center
Published March 27, 2016

Understanding Local Unemployment

Economic Pulse, 2016 Issue 8

This article takes an inside look at South Texas’s labor market by breaking down the unemployed workforce by industry and education level. The unemployment rate is remarkably higher in mining and construction, and lower in the service sector. Those with no previous work experience make up the largest category of unemployment, and the majority of those are least educated or without a college education. A lack of educational opportunities might have translated into the historical employment gap with the rest of the nation.
South Texas Economic Development Center