Jan 28, 2021
CITY OF ABILENE GETS STATE GRANT FOR DYESS FLIGHT LINE PROJECT
The Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC) Monday approved Abilene’s application for funds to upgrade security gates around the flight line at Dyess Air Force Base.

The city applied to the state for $1.89 million under the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant (DEAAG) program. The figure represents half of the $3.78 million cost of the project. The Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA) will provide up to $370,740 for the work. The U.S. Air Force Installations and Mission Support Center will fund $1,510,960 of the project.

“Abilene and Dyess have had a wonderful relationship for the past six decades,” said Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams. “The State of Texas award of the DEAAG grant just exemplifies the City of Abilene’s dedication to the mission, the airmen, and the families of Dyess who protect this great Nation. We could not be prouder to play a part in that.”

The flight line security enhancement project will tighten the circle of security $12.7 billion in aircraft today and more with the upcoming B-21 bomber. Ten state-of-the-art gates will replace existing ones. The gates are fence security and vehicular barriers for the flight line.

The Military Affairs Committee of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce provided grant-writing services, which the City of Abilene will serve as project manager and fiscal agent.

GOVERNOR WANTS TO PROTECT SMALL BUSINESSES FROM LIABILITY
Texas Governor Greg Abbott was in San Antonio today to talk to small business owners about shielding businesses from COVID-19 liability. That's one of his priorities for the current legislative session.

Abbott says businesses that opened their doors in the pandemic should not have their livelihoods destroyed by frivolous lawsuits. “To protect these businesses I am working with the legislature on a bill that provides civil liability protections for both individuals and businesses that operated in good faith during the course of the pandemic.”

 Abbott also mentioned the pandemic revealed broadband access is an essential tool for education, businesses, and healthcare. He said the legislature must ensure all zip codes in Texas must have access to broadband internet.

Source: KACU
TEXAS SERVICE SECTOR ACTIVITY BEGINS THE YEAR FLAT
Activity in the Texas service sector was roughly flat in January, according to business executives responding to the Texas Service Sector Outlook Survey. The revenue index, a key measure of state service sector conditions, fell from 5.5 in December to 0.8 in January, indicating a flattening out of activity.

Labor market indicators suggest slower employment growth and little change in the hours worked in January. The employment index declined over four points to 1.6, while the part-time employment index was mostly unchanged at 0.6. The hours worked index was similarly flat at 1.6.

Perceptions of broader business conditions held steady compared with December. The general business activity index was roughly unchanged at -1.2, while the company outlook index dipped slightly from 2.3 to 1.0. The outlook uncertainty index rose slightly to 6.4.
Price pressures remained steady in January, while wage pressures increased. The selling prices index and input prices index were stable from December at 6.2 and 22.1, respectively. The wages and benefits index rose three points to 11.9, its highest value in nearly a year.

Respondents’ expectations regarding future business activity were slightly less optimistic compared with December. The future general business activity index fell two points to 23.2, while the future revenue index slipped nearly four points to 38.2, though still well above its 2020 average. Other indexes of future service sector activity such as employment declined but remained firmly positive, suggesting expectations of stronger activity in the first half of the year.

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TEXAS RETAIL SALES STABLE
Retail sales activity flattened out in January, according to business executives responding to the Texas Retail Outlook Survey. The sales index, a key measure of state retail activity, fell from 2.9 to -1.0, with nearly 30 percent of respondents noting decreased sales compared with December. Inventories declined, with the inventory index falling over four points to -2.9.

Retail labor market indicators suggest a slight uptick in employment and workweek length compared with December. The employment index ticked up to 1.5, while the part-time index slipped from 3.0 to 1.7. The hours worked index rose nearly five points to 1.7, pointing to slight improvement in employee working hours.

Retail price and wage pressures eased slightly in January. The wages and benefits index slipped from 7.1 to 5.3, with nearly 15 percent of contacts noting increased wages, compared with 9 percent reporting declines. The selling prices index declined over three points to 19.8, while the input prices index slipped just slightly from 36.3—its highest level since 2018—to 35.1.

Despite softness in recent activity, retailers relayed optimism for the future in January. The future general business activity index remained elevated at 20.8, while the future sales index slipped slightly from 32.6 in December to 29.3 in January. Other indexes of future retail activity such as employment were mixed but remained positive, pointing to expectations of a solid rebound in 2021.
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