BBR Director’s Message Fall 2023

We are delighted that many of you are reading this message on our newly redesigned and updated website. Our hope is that the Bureau’s expertise areas and publications will be easier to navigate. Please drop me a note if you disagree.

Among the Bureau initiatives that you may not immediately encounter on our new site is one that holds great promise for most if not all our projects in the future – even if it is not quite ready for its moment in the sun.

Drawing upon his background in operations research, Senior Scientist Matt Kammer-Kerwick and has been working with staff from the City of Austin’s Office of Innovation and two amazing graduate research assistants from UT Austin’s School of Information on a “Prosperity Dashboard” for the city.

When completed, the data and decision science dashboard will allow residents and policymakers to access real-time information on elements of well-being in the city that go beyond GNP and other standard measures of economic health and growth.

For now, the site provides our research team with a demonstration “sandbox” for our computational research. Though it is still a little rough around the edges, I encourage you to visit the tool, explore its range, and let us know what you think.

Another scorching summer is almost behind us, with broken temperature records littering the ground. A year ago, I wrote about the heat, as well, and mentioned a couple of threats to the state’s businesses and consumers: general price inflation, high borrowing costs, and elevated home prices. At least core inflation has subsided since then, giving Texas firms and households alike the expectation that the economic conditions have stabilized around a predictable “new normal.” Like blazing-hot summer heat.

Finally, for those interested in regional economic development, demographics, and the latest trends in federal data from sources like BLS, BEA, and the Federal Reserve, please consider registering for a national conference that the Bureau is co-hosting in October with Texas A&M’s Real Estate Research Center. AUBER’s annual conference in San Antonio, October 14-17, 2023, features two pre-conference workshops, keynote speakers from industry and the private and public sectors, and an excursion to see two of San Antonio’s most successful development projects (The Pearl District, and the Soto).

As one of the nation’s leading professional economics associations focused on regional and applied research, AUBER is focusing this year’s conference on “The Future of Work,” and many of the panels and speakers will present on topics related to the commercial real estate sector, an important and timely topic for local and regional economies as firms adopt hybrid work models for employees. I hope you will join us.