The President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas told a local business audience that he expects the Texas economy to grow faster than the nation's economy in 2019, but he foresees some challenges ahead as Texas continues to grow, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Robert Kaplan told SWBC CEO Charles Amato in a presentation to the Real Estate Council of San Antonio that one of hte bigest headwinds the state faces is a continuing lack of skilled workers, which he says hampers the ability of the state's businesses to grow, and acts as a drag on GDP.
"We lage the country in math science and reading scores," he said.
But Kaplan said, unlike the challenges facing many other states, Texas's problems are 'within our control.' After the San Antonio presentation, Kaplan met with Gov. Abbott to discuss efforts to increase skills training programs, as well as early childhood education, as a way to tackle those issues.
"We think Texas will outperform the country for the foreseeable future, and if I had to pick a hand to bet on, of a state, Texas would be at the top of the list."
Among the tailwinds pushing the state's economy forward include the oil and gas sector, which, despite new efforts to downplay fossil fuels in the name of fighting global warming, Kaplan says will remain strong for 'several decades.'
But Kaplan also cited the diversity of Texas, with solid service, manufacturing, and agriculture sectors as well as energy.
The Kansas native also cited the growing Texas population, which he says is a large driver of GDP at a time when many states, like his own, are seeing their populations stagnate and decline. He says Texas also has a younger population than the country at a whole, at a time when an ageing work force is becoming a serious drag on economic growth, not just in the U.S., but in Europe as well.
Kaplan touted internal workforce development programs, which he says has a 'high return on investment.' He also criticized politicians who decry 'globalization,' saying Texas, as the country's largest exporting state, needs to embrace globalization. He said if a person in Texas has lost a job, it is far more likely to have been due to technology than due to globalization, like U.S. industries moving jobs to other countries.
PHOTO: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan, speaking to the Real Estate Council of San Antonio