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 but at a slower pace in August, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey.
The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, fell from 12 to 6.4, suggesting softer output growth.
Other indexes of current manufacturing activity also declined in August. The new orders index edged down to a reading of zero, suggesting flat demand. The capacity utilization index fell from 8.7 to 1.7, reaching its lowest reading since April. Shipments declined slightly in August; the index dipped into negative territory, with more than a quarter of manufacturers noting a decrease in shipment volumes.
Indexes reflecting broader business conditions were mixed, but both increased from last month. The general business activity index remained negative but climbed nearly 12 points from -13.2 to -1.6. The company outlook index was positive for the fourth month in a row and edged up to 4.1 from a reading of 1.6 in July.
Labor market indicators reflected stronger labor demand but unchanged workweeks. Employment growth picked up in August, with the index rising to 14.2, its highest reading in five months. Twenty-four percent of firms reported hiring new workers, while 10 percent reported layoffs. The hours worked index was near zero, suggesting little change in workweek length.
Price pressures were mixed in August. After two months of minimal increases in input costs, the raw materials price index rebounded, rising 8 points to 10.9. Selling prices fell for the sixth consecutive month in August; the finished goods price index was -1.6, up from -5.5 last month. The wages and benefits index fell from 22.9 to 13.5, largely due to a marked decline in the share of firms noting increased compensation costs. Looking ahead, 44 percent of respondents anticipate further increases in raw materials prices over the next six months, while 32 percent expect higher finished goods prices.
Although the manufacturing activity indexes, such as production and new orders, fell from July levels, their corresponding future indexes rose this month. However, expectations regarding future business conditions remained mixed in August. The index of future general business activity remained negative but edged up from -7.3 to -5.1. The index of future company outlook inched up to 6.2.
The Dallas Fed conducts the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey monthly to obtain a timely assessment of the state’s factory activity. Data were collected Aug. 14-22, and 91 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. Data have been seasonally adjusted as necessary.
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: American Airlines continues to shed jobs; Chemical Safety Board shut out of West probe by ATF; America’s greatest threat: Unsafe work conditions; 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;and more.