Economist Ray Perryman, the keynote speaker at the 2015 Greater San Marcos Economic Outlook, said he sees a couple of potential threats to the San Marcos area, but the forecast is generally sunny.
Economist Ray Perryman spoke at the 2015 Greater San Marcos Economic Outlook on May 21. The event was organized by the Greater San Marcos Partnership and Texas State University.[/caption]
Perryman said the instability of oil prices will probably knock about 175,000 jobs off of the state's total job creation this year. That will bring the state closer to the national average for job creation.
Although there is not much of an energy industry presence in Hays or Caldwell counties, which comprise the Greater San Marcos region, the area could face a challenge from investors who mistakenly believe the region’s economy is as dependent on oil as the rest of the state.
“The biggest risk this region has to oil and gas is some of the foreign investors and foreign inventors and even some of the money centers in the United States are not smart enough to realize that Texas isn't one monolithic place,” he said. "They say, 'If they're having oil problems in Texas, we won't invest or be in Texas right now.'"
During a question-and-answer session after the keynote, one attendee asked Perryman what the region can do to remain competitive with areas such as the northeast, which have an abundance of water.
Perryman said the passage of the proposition that created the State Water Implementation Fund of Texas was a good step toward addressing the state’s water needs, but the nation might need to rethink the way it uses water.
Furthermore, Perryman urged state leaders to prioritize infrastructure and stop what he called “deferred maintenance" of infrastructure. Perryman said the state is not addressing its roads, water, public schools or safety nets the way it needs to.
“There is every reason to think this area is going to be a significant growth area for a long time,” he said. "Obviously with growth comes challenges. You have to keep up with your infrastructure, with your education systems. Those things are challenging and expensive, but fortunately growth brings resources to take care of it."