Director’s Message – Fall 2022
A heat-soaked summer hasn’t been the only thing that has tested the resiliency of Texas businesses. Elevated core inflation, rising borrowing costs, and tight labor markets continue to pressure business owners and managers this fall as they plan for the next few quarters. For consumers, inflation is pinching them wherever they turn, from higher housing and land prices to rising grocery and gasoline costs. Everything’s hot out there.
Researchers at the Bureau are staying ahead of these trends so that policymakers and business owners can make informed choices. Our projects and initiatives support the priorities of the IC2 Institute, especially around its new strategic mission centered on “well-being economy.” Improving economic opportunity for Texans in all corners of the state—urban and rural–will contribute to economic resiliency and growth in our communities.
I’m excited about expanding existing initiatives and research projects that have been particularly successful. The Bureau is planning the third round of training this fall for historically underutilized businesses in Central Texas through our Smallbiz XLR8 program. We expect to release a major new study this fall that looks at the role Texas public libraries play in expanding digital literacy in the state. Bureau researchers have taken a major role in a Cockrell School of Engineering initiative to reduce waste and inefficiency in the construction industry by introducing a “neighborhood” model of collaboration among owners and suppliers. And be sure to take a look at a Bureau project about which I’m especially proud: a five-part series on human-centered economic development in small and rural parts of the state that will be the basis for planned future work on sustainable economic development for energy-dependent communities in the Permian Basin.
Autumn will surely bring cooler temperatures and maybe even some rain to drought-stricken parts of the state. As the weather cools off, my hope is that the Texas business climate will remain as robust and resilient as it always has, even in challenging conditions.
Dr. Bruce Kellison, Director
BBR, IC2 Institute at the University of Texas at Austin
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