TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The 34th annual Economic Outlook for East Texas meeting was held in Tyler today.
Dr. Ray Perryman served as the keynote speaker. He outlined several major economic areas of interest, including the new tax bill, immigration reform, oil and gas, and the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey.
Concerning the local effect of the new tax bill, Dr. Perryman says, "There is some things in there from the corporate side that are very favorable to Texas in terms of the types of industries we have… So, I think it will be able to net a positive stimulus for Texas. "
Immigration was another topic of interest. According to Perryman, one in every ten workers in Texas is undocumented.
"We don't have another source for those workers, so it's very important for us that, whatever kind of immigration reform happens, it is one that lets us use that workforce in an effective way," says Perryman.
Perryman says recent technological developments, such as hydraulic fracturing, are causing the oil and gas industry to be on a positive trajectory.
While Perryman has mostly positive projections for East Texas, portions of Texas near the coast are severely struggling as they work to recover from Hurricane Harvey. Perryman says workers from nearby areas will be migrating south for construction related employment. Tom Mullins, the Economic Development President for the City of Tyler says, migrating workers could "put a squeeze on our labor market… So, it could impact housing prices and construction prices in East Texas".
Nonetheless, Dr. Perryman projects growth in the Tyler area will occur at a pace faster than the nationwide rate.