AQUA BOOK 2015 - Page 38

PARADIGM SHIFT I s South Texas immune to the effects of falling oil prices? In the Coastal Bend, there is a strong argument that current regional developments in the downstream of the oil and gas industry suffice to ward off the potential adverse effects of low oil prices on the region. As Hunt (2015) explained, the emerging industrial renaissance is widely believed to be the key development that can counter most of the economic woes that low oil prices are bringing to South Texas. This new game changer stems from the record number of capital development projects underway in Corpus Christi, which together promise to create permanent jobs equivalent to about 10 percent of the area workforce. Those jobs will be mostly high-paying professional positions in the industrial manufacturing sector. About 20 of those industrial sites have already broken ground, creating a tight labor market for construction and craft skills workers. PARADIGM SHIFT INDUSTRIAL RENAISSANCE That declining trend is about to reverse in the Coastal Bend as the region is undergoing a facelift in its industrial landscape. F ollowing the national trend, the local manufacturing sector has undergone an extended period of declines as production has been outsourced overseas to notably China and other emerging economies around the world. Between 2001 and 2014, the Coastal Bend lost about 2,400 manufacturing jobs, and the share of the manufacturing sector in total regional employment reduced from 6.6 percent to 4.5 percent. Most of those job losses were offset by gains in serviceoriented employment. That declining trend is about to reverse in the Coastal Bend as the region is undergoing a facelift in its industrial landscape. This ]