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Shop Local: North Texas economy continues to grow
Jobs and the economy.
Throughout the nation, this is the hot-button topic that has national leaders, business barons and residents waiting to see which shoe drops next.
That anxiety resides in North Texas, but not as severely as in other parts of the state, nation and world. Local economic conditions appear to be much more robust than anywhere else on the map. The recession of a few years back knocked down the fiscal world, but North Texas rebounded faster than most.
The local economies thrive on the sale of goods and services. For these economies to grow, people have to be willing to shop in their neighborhoods and support local businesses. As that practice grows, so does the economy.
Craig Keeland, CEO and President of Plano-based Via Viente and a student of national and international finance and economics, sees the North Texas area as one of the top locations in the world.
"The economy in North Texas is extremely good (one of the strongest in the U.S.), compared to where we came from five years ago," Keeland said. "The Texas economy will get stronger and stronger -- especially in North Texas."
The state, and in particular North Texas, is economically strong because of its diversity. As that diversity continues to grow, financial stability continues to grow as well.
"The Texas economy ranks as the 11th largest economy in the world," Keeland said. "We are the No. 1 exporting state in the U.S. with $1.3 trillion worth of goods and services exported annually.
"Texas has more Fortune 500 companies than any other state. Why? The Texas spirit is second to none. We do things that all other states wish they could do -- create good jobs and balance our budget. Our governor, and most of our elected officials in Texas, are hardworking people who know how to lead all the people with growth."
While it may not be simple, jobs can be found in North Texas, according to Keeland. A person just has to want to find the job and be willing and flexible.
"Jobs are being created in this area," he said. "Plano is the ninth largest city in Texas and when you add Frisco, Allen and McKinney and other powerful cities of this area, together you have the sage of the Southwestern United States. In smart people you have those who enjoy working and creating solutions to make America even greater.
"The North Texas employment situation is stable. People who want jobs must work to find a job, nothing in life worth having is easy.
Keeland's belief is that in North Texas residents, business leaders and political leaders see solutions, where others see problems. The positive energy and passion in the entrepreneurs and corporate leaders in North Texas is the best there is, he said.
"We have a 'can-do' attitude and are willing to work to achieve."
On a national scale, the challenges are magnified but solutions can still be achieved.
"America is growing and has grown for two years -- yes, it will grow faster in the next 12 months," Keeland said. "Less government spending will help.
"But keep in mind, Europe is in a deep recession; even Germany is now in a recession. China is seeing growth slowing and will continue in this trend. America's per capita of income is $48,000 as compared to China's $8,500."
Unlike many naysayers, Keeland believes the best is in front of the United States.
"America's future is extremely bright," he said. "Our economy is two and half times larger than China's (second largest economy in the world) and three times larger than Japan (third largest economy in the world).
"Currently there are 756,000 international students studying in our colleges. Why? We have the smartest people and best colleges in the world. People risk dying to come to our country. I don't see any Americans leaving America. Having traveled to more than 40-plus countries in the world, I have never seen one country as great or as beautiful as America."
Keeland said the U.S. produces almost 25 percent more goods and services today than it did in 1999, while using almost precisely the same number of workers. It's as if $2.5 trillion worth of stuff materialized out of thin air because of efficiency, he said.
In 2005 the average U.S. worker could produce what would have required two people to do in 1970, what would have required four people in 1940, and would have required six people in 1910, Keeland said.
"America's biggest challenge is to stop complaining, feeling entitled, and looking for a hand out, and to start appreciating what we do have and not what we do not have, while asking what can I do for the greatest country in the history of mankind," he said. "True happiness in life comes from giving."