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Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas: Texas economy needs a federal lifeline if it wants to survive

Posted at 10:46 AM, Nov 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-14 11:46:57-05

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas issued its economic forecast for Texas, and it's looking bleak.

This comes as state and federal officials handle two dueling crises – COVID-19 and a tepid economy.

"It's a very delicate balancing game, in terms of preserving economic growth. At the same time working to ensure public health," said Pia Orrenius, Vice President and Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

The Dallas Federal Reserve's latest economic outlook makes one thing abundantly clear – Texas needs a federal lifeline if it wants the economy to bounce back.

Orrenius said local measures aren't cutting it to help struggling small business across the state, as state-wide job growth grew to a meager 3.6 percent, compared to the national 11.9 percent.

"It was a very painful spring for us with a deep economic contraction. And that was very sudden and very jarring. And the only reason we made it through that, as well as we did, because there was a massive fiscal stimulus from the federal government," Orrenius said.

While local leaders have their hands full with battling the coronavirus, it's imperative federal leaders distribute economic relief to local businesses, Orrenius said.

She said that many small businesses and even larger companies are close to ruin in Texas – especially, the energy sector.

"This has been a very difficult year for the energy sector. Not just because consumption of fuel has gone down so much because people are not driving and they're not flying. There's that. But earlier in the year, we had a big oil price war between Russia and Saudia Arabia that drove down the oil price," Orrenius said.

Though, Orrenius has hope for a light at the end of the tunnel in the COVID-19 vaccine. She predicts companies and consumers can have the confidence to reinvest money into the economy when they see the vaccine in action.

Until then, Orrenius said it's up to congressional leaders to turn the tide of economic ruin.