Quick Start for:

Economic Development

Texas in Focus: Upper Rio Grande

Industry Profiles

Apparel and Footwear Manufacturing

Strategically located along the Mexican border, El Paso maintains a strong footwear manufacturing sector and was once a leader in apparel manufacturing. Businesses take advantage of abundant materials imported from Mexico to produce clothing and shoes in Texas that are then shipped throughout the world. In 2007, the 40 regional footwear manufacturers employed 1,811 workers and paid $56.5 million in wages. Similarly, the region’s 39 apparel manufacturers employed 1,372 workers and paid $43.3 million in wages.24

Among El Paso’s many boot manufacturers, the Lucchese plant serves as the company’s only factory, producing its entire catalog of cowboy boots. After acquiring Dan Post Boots in 1986, Lucchese relocated from San Antonio to consolidate manufacturing in El Paso. With more than 330 employees, the plant makes approximately 3,500 pairs of boots per week. Materials and supplies come from around the world, but mostly from within the U.S., and final products are distributed from an on-site warehouse.25

Apparel manufacturing in the Upper Rio Grande region has been hurt by competition from globalization, as lower production costs overseas and in Mexico have forced producers abroad. Even so, many resilient businesses have remained in the region, shifting their operations from manufacturing to distribution and logistics services within the transportation sector.

The region’s transportation services provided 9,865 jobs in 2007, mostly in truck transportation. Highways and international road ports help give the regional transportation industry more than twice the job share of the national norm, with a location quotient of 2.02. Rail transportation also plays an important regional role, providing 1,055 jobs in 2007.26

Other regional businesses have shifted from producing clothes for retail stores to filling government contracts. El Paso’s Excel Garments, for instance, has been in business for 33 years and began as a garment washing service. The company moved into garment manufacturing, making denim for retail clothing lines, until it entered military uniform production four years ago. Today, Excel employs 385 workers and draws annual revenues of nearly $12 million.27

2007 Apparel and Footwear Industry Figures, Upper Rio Grande Region
Industry Jobs Wages Establishments Average Annual Wage
Apparel Manufacturing 1,372 $43,258,820 39 $31,530
Footwear Manufacturing 1,811 $56,503,410 40 $31,200
Truck Transportation 7,052 $258,900,076 411 $36,713
Rail Transportation 1,055 $87,388,815 $82,833
Transportation Support Services 1,758 $62,976,834 177 $35,823

Sources: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and Economic Modeling Specialists Inc.

Travel and Tourism

Travel and tourism is the second largest “export-oriented” (serving consumers outside of the state) industry in Texas, behind oil and gas. In 2007, the industry’s contribution to gross state product totaled $23.1 billion. While the industry is important to the overall state economy, it is of even greater importance in rural regions.28

In 2007, tourism accounted for 2.3 percent of earnings and 3.8 percent of employment in the state. As the table on page 30 shows, some counties in the Upper Rio Grande region rely more heavily on travel and tourism.

Travel and tourism supplies more than 10 percent of total employment in just five Texas counties, and two of them – Brewster County (20 percent) and Culberson County (10.3 percent) – are in the Upper Rio Grande region. Furthermore, Brewster, Culberson and Jeff Davis counties are three of only five counties in the state that receive more than 10 percent of county revenue from tourism.29

In 2007, travel and tourism employed 13,510 in the region, 17.2 percent more than in 1994. During this period, annual spending related to travel and tourism was nearly $1.5 billion in 2007, up 82.4 percent from 1994. Related annual earnings totaled $334 million in 2007, 68.6 percent more than in 1994. Local tax receipts were $21.4 million and state tax receipts were $80.1 million in 2007, up 72 percent and 67 percent, respectively, from 1994.30

The region’s four national parks and eight state parks are major tourist destinations. In 2008, its national parks attracted nearly 800,000 visitors, while nearly 240,000 people visited the state parks. Big Bend National Park led with 362,512 visitors, followed by Chamizal National Memorial with 197,767.31 Among state parks, Davis Mountain State Park had more than 128,000 visitors in 2008. More than half of these visitors (65,545) stayed at Indian Lodge.32

Sales in the region’s national parks produced an economic impact of nearly $28 million in 2007.33 This includes spending on hotels, campsites, restaurants, admission fees and retail purchases. In 2006, the region’s state parks generated an economic impact of $7 million. (See the Parks section on Page 53 for more details.)34

Travel and Tourism Earnings and Employment by County
Upper Rio Grande Region, 2007

Earnings (in millions)
County Total Travel & Tourism Related Percent of County Earnings
Brewster $188 $22 12%
Culberson $38 $4 11%
El Paso $15,482 $304 2%
Hudspeth $48 $0 1%
Jeff Davis $22 $3 12%
Presidio $71 $2 2%
Total $15,849 $335

Source: Dean Runyan Associates.

Employment
County Total Travel & Tourism Related Percent of County Employment
Brewster 6,710 1,340 20%
Culberson 1,750 180 10%
El Paso 365,550 11,810 3%
Hudspeth 1,750 20 1%
Jeff Davis 1,340 100 8%
Presidio 280 60 2%
Total 377,380 13,510

Source: Dean Runyan Associates.

Direct Travel Impact, Upper Rio Grande Region, 2007

Earnings (in millions)
County Total Direct Spending
(in thousands)
Earnings
(in thousands)
Employment Tax Receipts
(in thousands)
Local
Tax Receipts
(in thousands)
State
Brewster $47,900 $21,850 1,340 $990 $2,660
Culberson $35,580 $4,020 180 $330 $2,240
El Paso $1,392,970 $303,470 11,810 $19,870 $73,910
Hudspeth $5,640 $330 20 - $360
Jeff Davis $7,670 $2,720 100 - $430
Presidio $8,630 $1,590 60 $210 $490
Total $1,498,390 $333,980 13,510 $21,400 $80,090

Source: Dean Runyan Associates.

Return to Report.

Endnotes

All links were valid at the time of publication. Changes to web sites not maintained by the office of the Texas Comptroller may not be reflected in the links below.

  • 28 Texas Insider.org, “Fort Hood Impacts Texas Economy By $10.9 Billion,” p. 2, http://www.texasinsider.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3563. (Last visited March 18, 2009.)
  • 29 Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, “Estimate of the Economic Impact of Fort Hood on the Texas Economy,”, HOTDA Fact Sheet (May 12, 2008), p. 1, http://www.hotda.org/Articles%20of%20Interest/Economic%20Impact%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf. (Last visited March 18. 2009.)
  • 30 Texas Office of the Governor, Texas Military Preparedness Commission’s Master Plan for 2008, (Austin, Texas, August 12, 2008.) pp. 30-31, http://governor.state.tx.us/files/military/masterplan.pdf. (Last visited March 18, 2009.)
  • 31 Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, “Facts About Fort Hood,”, p. 2, http://www.killeenworks.com/forthood.html. (Last visited March 18, 2009.)
  • 32 Texas Office of the Governor, Texas Military Preparedness Commission’s Master Plan for 2008,
    pp. 34-35.
  • 33 Linda Christ, “Ready, Aim, HIRE!” Texas Apartment Association News & Views, (Winter 2009), pp. 41-42.
  • 34 Interview with Linda Christ, transition service manager, Fort Hood Army Career and Alumni Program, Killeen, Texas, March 2, 2009.
  • 35 Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, “Major Employers,” pp. 1-4, http://www.killeenworks.com/major_employers.php. (Last visited March 18, 2009.)
  • 36 Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, “March Along, Sing Our Song,”, Fiscal Notes (August 2008) p. 1, http://www.window.state.tx.us/comptrol/fnotes/fn0808/ . (Last visited March 18, 2009.); and Texas Insider.org, “Fort Hood Impacts Texas Economy By $10.9 Billion.”
  • 37 Texas Office of the Governor, Texas Military Preparedness Commission’s Master Plan for 2008,
    pp. 27-30.
  • 38 Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, “Overview,” p. 1, http://rcs.tamu.edu/; and Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, “What is the Golden-cheeked warbler Recovery Credit System,” p. 1, http://rcs.tamu.edu/WhatIsIt.aspx. (Last visited April 8, 2009.)
  • 39 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages,” http://www.bls.gov/cew/. (Last visited March 18, 2009.) Custom queries.
  • 40 Economic impact analysis provided by Texas A&M University, Texas Agrilife Extension Service.
  • 41 Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, “BEEF: From Pasture to Plate,” pp. 1-2, http://www.beeffrompasturetoplate.org/stagesinbeefproductionprocess.aspx. (Last visited March 19, 2009.)
  • 42 Interview with David Anderson, livestock economist at the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, College Station, Texas, April 2, 2009.
  • 43 United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, “U.S. & All States County Data,” http://www.nass.usda.gov/QuickStats/Create_County_All.jsp. (Last visited April 6, 2009.) Custom queries.
  • 44 Interview with David Anderson, livestock economist at the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Services.
  • 45 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.”
Required Plug-ins