ETX economist predicts job growth, economic diversity through 2017

ETX economist predicts job growth, economic diversity through 2017

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The Texas economy is still performing better than the nation's economy as a whole, and the East Texas economy is keeping up with that growth.

Thursday, Lindale native and nationally-recognized economist Ray Perryman stopped in Tyler to give his annual economic forecast.

"Tyler is performing better than a lot of places right now," said Perryman.

Ray Perryman's short term economic forecast through 2017 estimates that Longview will gain 16,159 news jobs while Tyler gains 15,700. East Texas as a whole is projected to gain 58,300 new jobs while the state gains a total of 1,839,500.

The economic growth that keeps coming our way is thanks to what was established in the past.

"Economic growth is not something that happens in a vacuum. It requires broad support from local elected officials to higher education to the business community to the citizens themselves," explains Tyler Economic Development Council President and CEO Tom Mullins.

Perryman said East Texas relied heavily on the energy sector for decades, but when that support collapsed in the late 80's, East Texas was forced to come up with something new.

"It was a move toward diversification to include things other than energy. The medical biotech sector was one of the key things that's worked out very well for the area," explains Perryman.

The medical and biotech sectors continue to serve East Texas well. To continue diversifying our economy, the Tyler Economic Development Council is turning their focus to technology.

"There's also growth in software companies, IT companies, internet companies...  Tyler has become kind of a destination location for technology," stated Mullins.

Perryman says the whole state is benefiting from growth in the oil and gas industry. While South Texas and West Texas are really seeing the boom, he anticipates some East Texas oil field service companies will do well, too. Perryman adds that we need to see statewide improvement in infrastructure, education and water conservation.

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