AQUA BOOK 2016 - Page 17

Employment Trends of Two Oil Episodes 105 Jun Aug Oct Dec | 2014 Feb Apr Jun Aug Oct Dec | 2015 100 Feb Apr Jun Aug Oct Dec | 2016 Feb Apr | 2017 95 Employment beginning January 1986 90 Jan | 1986 Mar May Jul Sep Nov Jan Mar May | 1987 Jul Sep Nov Jan Mar May Jul Sep Nov | 1988 Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and author's calculations. Given the lessons from the 1986 oil bust, Texas and, in particular, Corpus Christi would be vulnerable to the recent oil price collapses. Although the pace of employment growth has indeed slowed down considerably, most economic indicators for the Corpus Christi metro area so far have shown no resemblance to the experiences of the 1980s. Like the state of Texas, the area economy is more diversified today, but general economic diversification is not the main reason for its resilience to the effects of the oil market collapse. Instead, Corpus Christi is undergoing a facelift and a boom in both industrial and residential construction has offset many of the job losses associated with the falling oilrelated activity. Beyond the temporary effects during the current construction phase, the dozen large-scale industrial plants under development near the Port of Corpus Christi are also poised to transform the economic landscape of the area. In addition to the construction-related increases, the region is buffered from oil price declines by low natural gas prices and wide availability. With natural gas at industrial hubs prices under $2.00 per million BTU’s, its viability as a feedstock in petrochemical manufacturing, and its affordability as a power/energy source, has become a major underpinning factor in the economy. The natural gas shale revolution has made petrochemical manufacturing areas such as Corpus Christi particularly attractive to gas-users. A TALE ш