Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
March 23, 2010

Gulf Coast Region Shows Economic Resilience

The counties in the Gulf Coast Region are Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller and Wharton.

(AUSTIN) — The Gulf Coast region’s economic outlook is positive, with a diverse industry base providing valuable support for the state and national economies. Following the devastating effects of Hurricane Ike in fall 2008, the Gulf Coast region has shown resilience in the area economy and even surpassed the rest of Texas for quarterly sales when the state entered the national recession, according to a new report by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs.

Because the storm was among the most destructive to ever hit the Gulf Coast, local governments in the region expected significant reductions in business activity; but sales tax revenue remained strong and even outpaced previous quarterly and seasonal growth thanks in part to the infusions of relief funding and workers, who boosted retail sales.

Recovery efforts were also aided by strong economic opportunities in the region, known not only for the successful energy sector, but as a center for medical innovation. Healthcare kept the region growing as the industry rapidly added jobs and accounts for some of the area’s largest construction projects. The Texas Medical Center covers 31 million square feet of space — larger than downtown Los Angeles — and serves as Houston’s largest employer, when considered as a single entity, with 72,600 employees.

“The Gulf Coast region has an economic strength and diversity that continues to outpace the state as a whole,” Combs said. “It’s a prosperous area supporting many thriving industries. If Houston were a nation, its economy would be the 25th largest in the world, just behind Norway.”

Combs today released Texas in Focus: Gulf Coast, the eighth of her Texas in Focus series of reports examining the challenges and opportunities facing Texas’ diverse economic regions. Texas in Focus: Gulf Coast examines the region’s demographics, education, economic development, infrastructure and healthcare. It is designed to equip local decision makers and business leaders with vital information to help plan for continuing economic growth. The full report can be found on the Comptroller’s Web site at www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/tif/gulf.



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