Out of 26 million Texans, you may have an idea to change the world. You may have had several ideas to change the world. But only a tiny minority of you pushed through the U.S. Patent office from application to successful patent. We've seen Texans change the world many times over. Jack Kilby did it with Texas Instruments in 1958 with the integrated circuit, causing the start of the digital revolution, which, in part, is why you can read these words over your electronic device.
Over the last few years, Texas Business has brought its feature: Texas Business Patent of the Day. This list is of the ones that were either extremely clever, odd or strange. One thing becomes apparent from these patents and the patent that runs daily in Texas Business—Texans have a unique mind set.
Though the history of the Corn Dog is disputed, the State Fair of Texas claims to have introduced the Corny Dog sometime between 1938 and 1942. As a paean to that invention that now sits in the freezer section of every grocery store in the southwest, here are the fried foods the State Fair of Texas has introduced, or tried to introduce, in the last seven years.
Don't get caught up with John Wayne religion. For one thing, he's not Texan. He's in some fine movies involving Texas, most notably The Searchers, but none of his movies can make the best cut of Texas movies. Here's the short list.
Unsung Texas Business Journalists Mention that one is a reporter, and there's a spark of interest. Mention that one is a business news reporter, and watch the eyes glaze over. Except to the players, business and economic journalists are unappreciated. While many wish to become sports reporters when they grow up, most do not realize that business journalists cover the Real Game. Mention that reporter covers business, and watch the eyes glaze over. A toast to these below on the short list and the numerous unnamed ones slogging away. Full Story » TexasBusiness.com
Best Texas Mexican Food: The Short List No, we're not going to debate the difference between Tex-Mex, Mex-Tex, Mexican and Texican food. Just know these establishments are the pinnacle of Texas Mexican fare. No brag, just fact. Full Story » TexasBusiness.com
Best Texas Burgers Texas Burgers. . While a hamburger is merely sustenance and gratification for a meal, the memory a good Texas burger can give rise to Homeric odes. The short list. Full Story » TexasBusiness.com
Texas Business reports: Texas factory activity increased in April, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, fell from 11.1 to 5.6, suggesting growth continued but at a slower pace than last month.
Other measures of current manufacturing conditions stagnated in April. The capacity utilization index came in at 1.4, down markedly from 12.3 in March, with one-quarter of respondents noting decreases. Shipment volumes were flat in April after increasing for the previous three months; the shipments index fell from 8.6 to -0.8. The new orders index posted a near-zero reading for the second consecutive month.
Perceptions of broader economic conditions worsened in April. The general business activity index turned negative after three months of positive readings, falling from 10.8 to -3.4. Thirteen percent of firms noted improvement in the level of business activity, while 16 percent noted a worsening. The company outlook index also fell into negative territory, slipping to -4.5 after a reading of 9.5 last month.
Labor market indicators reflected sharply slower labor demand growth and shorter workweeks. Employment growth continued in April, but at a much slower pace than in previous months, with the index receding from 21.7 to 11.8. Nineteen percent of firms reported hiring new workers, while 7 percent reported layoffs. The hours worked index declined eight points to -4.6, its first negative reading in eight months.
Input prices and wages increased at a slower pace in April, and selling prices declined. The raw materials price index was 21.2, down from 27.7 in March. This was the index’s lowest reading in five months and is well below last year’s April reading of 57.1. The wages and benefits index moved down from 21 to 15.2. The finished goods price index was negative for a second month in a row and edged down to -5.4. Looking ahead, 45 percent of respondents anticipate further increases in raw materials prices over the next six months, while 24 percent expect higher finished goods prices.
Expectations regarding future business conditions were less optimistic in April. The index of future general business activity edged down from 19.1 to 15.7. The index of future company outlook came in at 14.4, down significantly from 26.2 in March. Other indexes for future manufacturing activity also decreased, although all remained in strong positive territory.
The Dallas Fed conducts the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey monthly to obtain a timely assessment of the state’s factory activity. Data were collected Apr. 17–25, and 89 Texas manufacturers responded to the survey. Firms are asked whether output, employment, orders, prices and other indicators increased, decreased or remained unchanged over the previous month.
Survey responses are used to calculate an index for each indicator. Each index is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents reporting a decrease from the percentage reporting an increase. When the share of firms reporting an increase exceeds the share reporting a decrease, the index will be greater than zero, suggesting the indicator has increased over the prior month. If the share of firms reporting a decrease exceeds the share reporting an increase, the index will be below zero, suggesting the indicator has decreased over the prior month. An index will be zero when the number of firms reporting an increase is equal to the number of firms reporting a decrease.
The Texas News Scrawl is a handy reference to stories Texas Business recommends from other news sources. Some of the stories that Texas Business currently suggests include: The West News proves the value of a great weekly newspaper in a community torn up with grief and chaos; Chinese investors checking out Texas, Austin; Texas makes bounce house operators carry liability coverage, but not plants like West Fertilizer; bSpaceX’s Grasshopper leaping to NM spaceport;American Airlines, US Airways to name post-merger leadership within weeks; Texas power cushion seen at lowest level in a decade; Media outlets reflect Houston's diversity; and more.