Coastal Bend 2016: still growing, still advancing, but slowingCoastal Bend 2016: still growing, still advancing, but slowinghttps://www.recenter.tamu.edu/news/newstalk-texas/?Item=114672015-12-14T06:00:00Z2015-12-14T15:00:00Z

​​CORPUS CHRISTI - Home construction and job growth in Texas will lose some of their economic steam in 2016 because of the energy downturn.

“Texas' $1.7 trillion gross domestic product has enjoyed annual growth at or near 3 percent each year since 2010, much of it tied to energy-related commerce. Sliding production and dwindling oil prices the last 17 months will take its toll on the state's economy,” said Jim Gaines, Chief Economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

While Texas is not expected to go into recession, its growth rate for the rest of 2015, all of 2016 and part of 2017 will be less, perhaps even 1 percent each year.

"We'll still grow, we'll still advance," Gaines said. "But it'll come at a lower rate than we've gotten used to."

The Coastal Bend has been a huge benefactor of economic growth since 2008, the year drilling began in what is now the Eagle Ford Shale energy play. That growth has been a magnet for job seekers.

The Corpus Christi Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Aransas, Nueces and San Patricio counties, had a record 200,300 jobs in April 2015 — or 3.7 percent more jobs from previous years.

Gaines predicted the area's job growth will diminish in the coming years. That parallels the job-growth forecast for the state, which is expected to grow by 2 percent in 2016 and just 1 percent the following year.

The Texas Association of Realtors' 2015 Texas Annual Housing Report​ indicated home sales and prices steadily increased throughout the year, while statewide housing inventory reached a two-year high in third quarter 2015.

The report also showed that Texas is outpacing the nation in home sales, as median incomes for Texans rose 5.9 percent year-over-year — more than double the growth rate of incomes nationally during the same time frame.

Twelve industrial plants are in various stages of development around the Port of Corpus Christi and are slated to begin operating within the next two years. 

Among them are Cheniere Energy's $11 billion liquefied natural gas facility near Gregory, Occidental Chemical Corp.'s $1 billion ethylene cracking plant in Ingleside and Voestalpine Texas' $747 million iron manufacturing plant, also near Gregory.
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Corpus Christi
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