economy

Central Region Snapshot

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As the state's chief financial officer, I am charged with monitoring the economic health of our state. Therefore, it's vitally important that my office studies factors related to our regional economies.

The 20 counties comprising the Central Region cover the east central section of the state and houses a vital military community.

Below, we track regional trends in population growth, personal income, jobs and wages, education and government-sector dependence— a wildcard issue that, if left unaddressed, is of particular concern to the region.

– Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Central Region Counties

  • Bell
  • Bosque
  • Brazos
  • Burleson
  • Coryell
  • Falls
  • Freestone
  • Grimes
  • Hamilton
  • Hill
  • Lampasas
  • Leon
  • Limestone
  • Madison
  • Mclennan
  • Milam
  • Mills
  • Robertson
  • San Saba
  • Washington

Killeen's Fort Hood is the largest active-duty armored post in the U.S. armed services.

Source: Fort Hood

Key Industries 2016

  • Agriculture, Construction and Mining Machinery Manufacturing
  • Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical and Control Instruments Manufacturing
  • Foundries; Federal Government (Military)
  • Education and Hospitals (State Government)
  • Coal Mining
  • Support Activities for Mining
  • Oil and Gas Extraction
  • Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite)
  • Animal Slaughtering and Processing
  • Support Activities for Air Transportation

Population Growth

Central Region vs. Texas and U.S. 2004-2014

  • Region: 15%
  • Texas: 20%
  • U.S.: 9%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

With a median age of 32.4 the Central Region is one of the state's youngest.

Brazos County with a median age of 24.5 is the youngest in the state.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

More than 60,000 pounds of sausage leave Chappell Hill Sausage Company ever week.

Source: Chappell Hill Sausage Company

Personal Income

Personal income in the Central Region grew from $26 billion in 2004 to $43 billion in 2014. It accounted for 4 percent of the state's $1.23 trillion in personal income in 2014.

Per capita personal income grew 44 percent, compared with the state's 47 percent average.

The Temple Medical Education District contributes $1.8 billion in gross product to the local economy.

Source: Temple Economic Development Corporation Economic Impact Survey

Central Region Income Highlights
County 2014 Per Capita Income 10-Year Per Capita Income Growth
Hamilton $50,220 77%
Washington $49,365 61%
Lampasas $46,618 63%
Robertson $44,251 68%
Burleson $40,097 70%
Leon $40,093 61%
Bell $40,007 36%
Bosque $38,229 56%
Milam $37,276 61%
Freestone $36,255 55%
Hill $36,121 53%
Mills $35,472 38%
McLennan $35,467 39%
Grimes $34,996 72%
San Saba $34,718 58%
Limestone $33,551 48%
Falls $33,517 53%
Brazos $32,740 45%
Coryell $32,678 32%
Madison $31,177 52%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Per Capita Personal Income Growth 2004-2014

  • Region: 44%
  • Texas: 47%
  • U.S.: 34%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Jobs & Wages

Job Growth 2004-2014

  • Region: 13%
  • Texas: 21.7%
  • U.S.: 5.5%

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.

Central Region's 2014 average wage of $42,000 was well below the state average of $52,537.

The College Station-Bryan and Killeen-Temple metropolitan areas posted job gains of 23 percent and 14 percent, respectively. The Waco metropolitan area grew by just 7 percent.

San Saba County has nearly 25 pecan trees per person.

Source: USDA Census of Agriculture & U.S. Census

Education

Central Region Public High School Graduates, 2014

  • McLennan County Percentage: 22%
  • Bell County Percentage: 31%
  • Brazos County Percentage: 12%
  • Other Counties in Central Region percentage: 34%

Bell, McLennan and Brazos counties account for 66 percent of public high school graduates.

Public high school graduation rates in the Central Region grew by 5.7 percent from 2003-2012, slower than the state rate of 9.2 percent.

Source: Texas Education Agency and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

One in ten U.S. Veterinarians graduated from Texas A&M's College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Source: Texas A&M Academic Fact Sheets

Government Sector Dependence

Public-sector employers provide nearly one of every three Central Region jobs. That's nearly double the state average.

The fact that government plays such a large role in job creation not only produces an economic imbalance but also makes the region especially vulnerable to the decisions of legislative budget writers.

Employers such as Fort Hood and Texas A&M University have helped drive economic growth in the Central Region, yet per capita income lags 19 percent behind the Texas average.

As military personnel cuts take effect during the next year and a half, the region could experience a financial downturn. A more diverse economy would be better positioned to sustain the blow.

Government Jobs as Share of Regional Economy, 2014
Region Government Share
Metroplex 13.1%
Gulf Coast 13.7%
West 16.7%
Texas 16.9%
Upper East 17.1%
Capital 18.5%
Southeast 18.7%
Alamo 20.0%
High Plains 20.0%
South 23.2%
Northwest 25.1%
Upper Rio Grande 30.2%
Central 32.5%

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Conclusion

The Central Region starts near the heart of Texas and rolls gently around the border of the Texas Hill Country. It houses one of the nation's most vital military communities in addition to one of Texas' premier public research universities.

These two public entities — Fort Hood and Texas A&M — no doubt contribute to the region's relative youth and have helped produce modest but steady economic growth.

To boost this growth and improve economic health, the region will need to recalibrate the gap between its public and private sectors.

Fortunately, its stability and youth provide a steady base upon which it can develop a more diverse and sustainable economy.

Questions?

Contact the Comptroller's Data Analysis and Transparency Division at 800-531-5441, ext. 6-9231, or via email.