Falling oil prices have not been easy on the Texas manufacturing sector. Though rapid growth in the oil and gas industries created high demand for industrial goods, lower prices have caused many producers to close rigs and lay off workers. As a result, after three straight years of significant manufacturing growth, Texan manufacturing is slowing down. Employment is still growing, but slowly, by only 0.5 percent in the past year.
This does not mean that Texas is not a great place to invest in manufacturing. Rather, the state remains home to 22,567 manufacturers employing 1,245,117 workers.
"Texas gets high marks for a quality workforce, its stronghold in tech and innovation, and a lower cost of doing business, all of which have helped industrial employment grow," Tom Dubin, President of Manufacturers' News Inc., said in a press release. "However, growth is beginning to lag largely due to the decline in oil prices."
This is why many industry leaders are looking for the state and its largest cities to invest in manufacturing competitiveness. Recently, the Houston Chronicle argued that it is important for policymakers to "provide additional infrastructure, education and free trade policies that meet the needs of international investors."
For instance, many foreign corporations — such as the Japanese industrial giant Daikin, which makes air conditioners — came to Texas for the available land and business climate. Though Daikin executives said they could have moved anywhere in North America, they felt strongly about investing in Texas.
Maintaining public and private investment that incentivizes the growth of CNC machine shops will help Texas maintain its manufacturing base.