Economist forecasts slow growth for 2016

BROWNSVILLE — Despite the economic potential companies like SpaceX and the SATA Group present for the Lower Rio Grande Valley, for the time being Cameron County is still one of the very poorest places in the nation, with an unemployment rate that persistently exceeds the rest of Texas and the United States.

Add to that the fact that recovery from the recession has lost some of its momentum locally due to a number of factors, including a sagging global economy, a strong dollar and a weak peso, and you’ve got an economy that’s nothing to get excited about.

It could be worse. The recession is over. Unemployment is high at 6.9 percent, but that’s still several percentage points lower than during the height of the recession, and only one percentage point higher than the lowest unemployment rate in the boom times leading up to the recession, said Nathanial Karp, chief economist for BBVA Compass Bank.

“Just think, about one percentage higher in the midst of this global slowdown and struggling mining and oil and gas,” he said. “That’s pretty good.”

Karp, whose office is in Houston, was in the Valley recently discussing the economic outlook for the United States, Texas and the Valley. He noted also that home prices are creeping up in the Valley, as are employment numbers in areas such as health care and leisure.

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