Jan 19, 2021
TEXAS HOUSING MARKET STILL HOT
The Texas housing market boom is expected to continue this year despite high unemployment and the pandemic's ongoing drag on the economy. Texas A&M's Real Estate Center projects single-family home sales will increase by 8.4% compared to last year. Economist Luis Torres says that's on top of a nearly 10-percent jump in sales activity in 2020. "Recovery means when you're back to pre-recession levels. In this case, back to pre-COVID levels and we did that last year and last year we started to expand. The housing market is in expansion mode.” Torres says his projections are based, in part, on sustaining low mortgage interest rates and widespread COVID-19 vaccinations.

Source: KACU
A LOOK BACK AT THE 2020 ECONOMY
The economy had a wild ride in 2020. It is worth a look back at a year that will certainly be one for the economic history books.

What happened? It is easy to forget that the economy was in good shape at the beginning of 2020. The labor market had added 214,000 jobs in January and 251,000 in February. Had it not been for the COVID-19 virus, the economy would have continued to grow.

Once COVID-19 hit our shores though, it sent the economy into a tailspin from which it has yet to fully recover. The virus forced us into “The Great Pause” from mid-March until June.

From tracking at near 2% growth in late March, the economy dropped rapidly. In March and April, more than 22.1 million Americans lost their jobs. Just two weeks of suspended economic activity (from mid-March to the end of the month) was enough to cause the economy to contract by 5% in the first quarter. The continuation of that suspension in April, May, and into June caused the economy to contract more than 31% in the second quarter.
But the economy roared back in a big way by a combination of lower virus case rates, the end of government-mandated closures, and the willingness of people to resume more of their normal routine. It grew more than 33% in the third quarter, which is a testament to the incredible resiliency of the U.S. economy.

An uneven recovery: Some industries have more than recovered, especially those whose products are more in demand during a pandemic. Others that cannot operate fully, or at all, in a socially distanced manner. This split-recovery has become known as the “K-shaped” recovery.

Looking ahead: Keep in mind the outlook for 2021 is strong because the pandemic will end this year. Vaccines will drive down cases and allow those business at the bottom of the “K” to finally begin to recover.

Read my full piece with more charts at Above the Fold.

—Curtis Dubay, Senior Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
GUIDES AND RESOURCES FROM THE U.S. CHAMBER
COVID-19 VACCINE REQUEST FORMS
The Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District (ATCPHD) is an approved COVID-19 vaccine provider. Supply is currently limited and vaccine administration is based on state guidance which can be found on the Department of State Health Services website.

The waitlist is available for all individuals, regardless of county of residence, as long as they meet 1A or 1B criteria.

Phase 1A Organizations:
  • Direct Care: Hospital, Long-Term Care, EMS 9-1-1, Home Health, Outpatient, ER/Urgent Care, Pharmacies, Last Responders, School Nurses
  • Long-Term Care: Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities
Phase 1B criteria:
  • You are 65 years of age and older 
  • You are 16 years* and older and have a medical condition which places you at higher risk.
  • *Moderna CANNOT be given to anyone under the age of 18.

If you or someone who know needs access to the form, please help ATCPHD spread the word by sending them the form here.
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JAN 21 FINANCING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Approximately 75% of small business owners never get in front of a lender to talk about a commercial loan. It is no wonder that being undercapitalized is a leading cause of small business failure. Learn what you can do today to prepare yourself financially to operate a successful business. Register Now.

JAN 21 2020 IS OVER, NOW WHAT? HR EXPERTS TALK COVID-19,
COMMUNICATION, REMOTE WORK, AND MORE After such a difficult year, HR teams, employers and employees must rebuild the camaraderie lost due to pandemic fatigue, closed offices, and worker burnout. This 3 hour webinar will offer lively discussion on safety technology, communication obstacles, Covid-19 vaccination policies, recruitment and more. Register Now.

JAN 21 UNDERSTANDING THE SAVE OUR STAGES ACT: HOW MUSIC VENUES APPLY FOR SBA PANDEMIC ASSISTANCE The Governor's Office of Small Business Assistance is partnering with the Texas Music Office to connect Texas small businesses in the music industry with vital recovery resources. Attendees will learn about recent legislation that can help their business, such as the Save Our Stages Act, and other pandemic assistance available through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Register Now.

JAN 26 TEXAS ALLIANCE OF ENERGY PRODUCERS At 12:00 p.m. noon, join Alliance President Jason Modglin for an engaging discussion with newly elected Texas State Senator Drew Springer (District 30) who will share his priorities for session, any energy related matters he will be focused on and his thoughts on moving to the Senate. Register Now.

JAN 26 CYPERSECURITY FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: THE FUNDAMENTALS This "Cybersecurity for small business: The Fundamentals" webinar is intended to share the "how to's" of cybersecurity as recommended by NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology. You, your team, company or community group will learn the steps for understanding cybersecurity, the risks and steps to mitigate them. Presented by SBDC Business Counselor, Manzel McGhee and CARES Act Coordinator, Kenny Heaton. Register here.

JAN 26 SBA SURETY BOND GUARANTEE PROGRAM WEBINAR We would like to invite you to attend our upcoming Surety Bond Guarantee Program Webinar that will be held Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. This one hour webinar will cover details regarding our SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program and how it can help small contractors and subcontractors obtain bonding on reasonable terms. Please click here to join the meeting.

JAN 29 TEXAS ECONOMIC OUTLOOK PANDEMICS AND THE TEXAS ECONOMY: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas will host its annual Texas Economic Outlook on January 29 virtually. At this event, Keith Phillips, assistant vice president and senior economist, will release the Dallas Fed’s 2021 forecast for Texas employment growth and share more details on the factors likely to influence Texas in 2021. Texas Economic Outlook will provide business and community leaders from across the state of Texas with the most up-to-date economic information to help them make informed business decisions. Register Now.