The outlook for the Upper Rio Grande region is promising. Its relatively young population, increasing educational opportunities and growing health care sector should ensure the region’s economic growth continues. It will remain an important international trade corridor.
The region’s employment growth should continue along with the state’s through 2013, while its non-metro counties are expected to surpass statewide job growth over this period. The region’s professional and business services sectors should expand their employment by 73 percent between 2003 and 2013, with overall job growth reaching 23 percent. The military and the manufacture of household vacuums and men’s footwear will continue to be important industries in the region.
Interstate Highway 10 and the Foreign Trade Zone at El Paso International Airport will support the region’s position in international trade. The Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant will provide an important source for potable water for the region. These infrastructure projects, along with the proposed La Entrada al Pacifico highway, should help the region sustain its growth.
As with many other areas in Texas, the region faces a shortage of trained health care professionals. But the scheduled opening of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine and the construction of the Children’s Hospital at Thomason General Hospital should increase the area’s supply of medical professionals. While the region has historically been underserved by medical personnel, five of El Paso’s 14 largest employers are health-related organizations.
Although three-quarters of the region’s public school students are economically disadvantaged, 88 percent of its campuses are rated as Academically Acceptable or better. The University of Texas at El Paso has doubled its graduation rate between 1999 and 2007, helping to prepare the region’s work force of tomorrow.
Map of Economic Regions
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
The Comptroller’s office is ready to help the Upper Rio Grande region meet its challenges with economic information and analyses. For assistance, please email the Comptroller’s Local Government Assistance and Economic Development Division at firstname.lastname@example.org, or toll-free at (800) 531-5441, ext. 3-4679.
Contact information for local government assistance is also available on the TexasAhead Web site at www.texasahead.org/lga.
We will continue to provide local and state leaders with detailed information in this continuing series of reports. We hope you look forward to future volumes in this series, which will highlight each of the state’s 12 economic regions (Exhibit 48).
Please see the Comptroller’s Texas in Focus: A Statewide View of Opportunities (www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/tif) for a statewide perspective, as well as the other regional reports in this series, listed below.