Set at the center of the U.S. economy, Texas is a force that continues to welcome investment as second nature. In November 2017, Texas set a new record for the lowest unemployment rate in the state’s history and December 2017 marked 92 consecutive months of job growth. Last year, more than 600 companies chose to expand in the state—and this growth is expected to continue in 2018.
It’s clear that Texas holds a natural appeal for companies looking to grow their North American presence, but with the competition from other states rising, the Lone Star state has taken proactive measures to invest in its business economy and foster collaboration that promotes top-level innovation in the state.
Texas Investment Snapshot 2017
- Charles Schwab – The financial industry leader celebrated the groundbreaking of its 500,000-square-foot, $100 million campus in Westlake, with plans to create more than 1,200 jobs in North Texas.
- Toyota – The automotive giant celebrated the grand opening of its $350 million North American headquarters in Plano.
- Boeing – The aerospace leader celebrated the grand opening of its new Boeing Global Services (BGS) headquarters in Plano that will serve as a hub for 20,000 employees worldwide.
- Merck – The major global healthcare player announced plans to locate its newest IT Hub in Austin creating at least 600 jobs and involving $20 million in investment.
- Exxon Mobil and SABIC – The two partnering companies selected San Patricio County as the site for a new multi-billion-dollar petrochemical plant projected to create over 600 jobs.
- Kubota – The Japanese tractor corporation held a grand opening for its new North American headquarters in Grapevine creating 340 jobs and $51 million in capital investment.
A Globally Focused Future
If Texas were a country, it would be considered the 10th largest economy in the world. This fact leaves little room to wonder why 50 Fortune 500 companies and 2.6 million small businesses have chosen to call the Lone Star state home.
From infrastructure to talent attraction and everything in between, the State of Texas continues to invest in what helps advance business operations.
With 380 airports, over 10,000 miles of freight rail and 16 seaports that include 32 Foreign Trade Zones, Texas’ global connectivity is unparalleled. As the top U.S. exporter for 15 consecutive years, Texas provides companies based in the state with the access necessary to run global operations on a daily basis.
One company taking advantage of Texas’ infrastructure and sizeable economy is aviation conglomerate Boeing, which opened its newly formed Boeing Global Services (BGS) unit in Plano this past year. With over 20,000 employees located across seventy countries, Boeing’s strategic location in the Dallas area allows for streamlined access to a wide range of commercial and government customers.
Boeing isn’t the only company that chose to Go Big in Texas last year. From Toyota to Hulu, tractor and airplane manufacturers to leaders in tech and game changers in healthcare, companies across industries chose Texas in 2017 for its globally minded atmosphere.
Talent Built for Business
When deciding where to locate, talent availability is among the top considerations for forward-thinking companies—and Texas fits the bill. Home to the second largest workforce in America, the Lone Star State is a talent mecca full of skilled people ready to fill jobs.
With 38 public universities and 50 community college districts, Texas continues to grow its skilled talent base. Ten of these universities rank among the best in the world, according to U.S. News and World Report, creating a pipeline of top-tier talent for the businesses that choose Texas. In addition, Texas continues to lead in talent attraction. In 2017, the metro areas of Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio together added more people than any state, except Texas as a whole.
Recognizing the value of a strong talent pool, Texas invests in the state’s future through programs like the Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI), which was fully funded in 2017 when Governor Abbott signed into law the budget passed by the 85th Legislature. GURI is a matching grant program designed to assist eligible institutions of higher education in recruiting distinguished researchers. Since its inception following the 84th Legislature, GURI has helped to recruit nine distinguished researchers to Texas A&M, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston. These transformative researchers will, in turn, serve as economic catalysts to the Texas economy for years to come.
A Growth-Oriented Tax Climate
Another significant outcome of the 85th Legislative Session was the funding of Texas’ most powerful deal-closing incentive—the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF)—which will continue to fuel the Texas economy.
The Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) is a cash grant used as a financial incentive tool for projects that offer significant projected job creation and capital investment. This highly-competitive incentive is used when only a single Texas site is opposing another viable out-of-state option.
Since 2004, the TEF has awarded over 140 grants totaling more than $600 million across a wide variety of industries and projects, including Toyota’s recent North American headquarter relocation, Jamba Juice, Galderma, Jacobs Engineering and many more. This past year, the TEF helped leading global pharmaceutical company Merck locate its newest IT hub in Austin. The company brings over $20 million in investment and 600 jobs and plans to partner with Dell Medical School on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin to advance medical innovation in the state.
Texas also boasts a competitive tax climate and economic policies that are attractive to companies looking for expansion opportunities. With lower taxes—including no corporate income tax, no personal income tax and no property tax at the state level—smarter regulations and right-to-work laws, Texas stands out against states that over-tax and over-regulate.
Innovation and Investment in 2018
Looking ahead to 2018, Texas expects to see continued growth and investment. Despite the hurdles Texas faced in 2017, including overcoming the significant effects of Hurricane Harvey, the Lone Star State showed tremendous resilience and continued its track record of consistent growth and improving its advantages for business.
This is evidenced by the fact that the state continues to be recognized, not just by businesses, but by highly-respected rankings for its prowess as an investment location. In fact, in 2017, Texas was rated as the #1 economic climate in the U.S. by Forbes’ Best States for Business, #1 for job creation by IBM Global Location Trends, and as the Best State for Business by Chief Executive Magazine for the 13th consecutive year.
With more companies choosing Texas, the hotbed of innovation is growing in the Lone Star State, allowing for a truly global economy. There’s little doubt that global companies will continue to “Go Big” in Texas in 2018.
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