By Mark Richardson, Texas News Service
Despite a few setbacks, the Texas economy still packs a punch, just not quite as much as it used to. The online survey company WalletHub ranked Texas ninth in its 2016 survey of state economies, saying that weakness in the oil industry and other factors have shifted the Lone Star State’s economy from top speed to a lower gear.
Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst, said Texas still leads the pack in several economic categories.
“When it comes to exports per capita, Texas still cannot be beat,” she said. “We’re looking at around $10,000 per capita. That’s number one out of any other state. It has the second highest GDP growth within the past year, so still a lot of money being pumped into Texas’ economy.”
Using criteria from several sources, WalletHub rated states in three main categories: economic activity, economic health and innovation potential. Utah was ranked the number one state economy. Gonzalez said Texas ranks 20th in innovation potential, behind states such as California, Massachusetts and New York, which have more high-tech jobs and attract more scientists and engineers.
She adds that Texas is ranked 34th in economic health, pointing to the state’s high unemployment rate, low median annual income, and growing foreclosure rate as problem areas.
“There’s quite a big wealth gap in Texas, higher poverty rate, also a lower cost of living, though,” she added. “A lot of people aren’t making as much as, say, in California or Washington, because you can get by on a little bit lower of a salary.”
Gonzalez said the Lone Star State’s slide in the economic rankings mirrors the fall in oil prices. While WalletHub has not previously ranked state economies, Business Insider.com, using similar criteria, said the Texas economy ranked second in 2014 and fourth in 2015.
The complete study can be read online here.