Dec 15, 2020
Initial consumer sentiment for December rose, according to the University of Michigan. With case levels rising and job losses mounting, we expected to see consumers feeling at best the same as they did in November. A further decline in sentiment would not have been surprising.
The index now stands just above 81 in December, but it is far below the pre-pandemic high of 101 in February.

The index score is composed of what consumers feel about the economy now and how they expect it to be between one and five years from now. Both measures ticked up strongly to start December.
Why did this happen? The most straightforward explanation for both measures rising is that consumers have more fully digested the news about the efficacy of vaccines than they had in November. Thus, they are feeling better about both their short-term and long-term prospects.

Big picture: Even with both current and future expectations rising, the researchers said, “most of the early December gain was due to a more favorable long-term outlook for the economy, while year-ahead prospects for the economy, as well as personal finances, remained unchanged.”

What’s next: It is good news consumers are feeling better about the economy, no matter the reason. When consumers feel better, they spend more, which will drive growth.

—Curtis Dubay, Senior Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
After many months of hard work from our team, the Chamber’s Abilene Industrial Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of their new website

“Abilene is a one-of-a-kind place in West Texas that is thriving with opportunity,” said Gary Grubbs of Lawrence Hall – Abilene and Chair of the Abilene Industrial Foundation. “This website allows us to showcase our pro-business environment for entrepreneurs, provide resources to existing businesses, and share the storied history of Abilene’s Public Private Partnership.”

With the primary goal in mind to create a valuable experience for the user, the website serves as a launching pad to resources for existing business, entrepreneurs, workforce information, downtown development and more.

To read more, click here. 
After growth slowed in September, the Texas economy showed signs of acceleration in October as payroll growth strengthened and the unemployment rate began to decline again. Results from the Dallas Fed’s Texas Business Outlook Surveys indicated an improving outlook in October. Texas exports have been more volatile through the pandemic than national exports, likely attributable to swings in energy exports. Daily new COVID-19 cases across the state have recently risen, most notably in El Paso. Meanwhile, the share of Texans without health insurance as of Nov. 9 was almost twice the national rate.
To read more, click here.  
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DEC 16 COMMISSIONER OF TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY The TCCE Government Affairs series continues with a conversation with TEA Commissioner Mike Morath. Education and workforce remain key priorities for business and our state. COVID-19 has put new pressure on both the state budget and the state's education system. Learn how we will weather the storm and continue building great young people and an excellent future workforce. Register here.

DEC 17 WHAT'S NEXT FOR GLOBAL TRAVEL Go behind-the-scenes with top luxury travel advisors for perspective on the current state of travel, what luxury guests are looking for in 2021, and how advisors are addressing guest health safety concerns. This powerhouse panel offers incredible insight into the global travel market as it evolves through the pandemic and into the future. Register here.

Learn best practices and analyze trends about how customers engage with your business online, then turn these insights into well-informed, actionable decisions. Register here.

JAN 13 INTRODUCTION TO GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING The Federal Government spends over half of a trillion dollars on goods and services each year. States and local governments spend 1.5 trillion dollars on goods and services cumulatively each year. This webinar covers the basics of doing business in the public sector at all levels. Register here.