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26-story mixed-use tower planned at Taylor & Fifth in downtown Fort Worth

Jetta Operating Co., a 24-year-old privately held oil and gas company in Fort Worth, and a related entity plan a 26-story mixed-use tower downtown at Taylor and Fifth streets on a site once owned by the Star-Telegram.

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UPDATE: Six candidates file for two Water Board seats

Six candidates have filed for the two open seats on the Tarrant Regional Water Board, setting up a battle that could potentially shift the balance of power on the board and the priorities of one of the largest water districts in Texas.

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Top area CFOs honored

The Fort Worth Business Press honored 13 area chief financial officers today with a luncheon at the Fort Worth Club.

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Fort Worth breaks ground on $8.6 million South Main renovation

Fort Worth Near Southsiders and city officials broke ground Monday on the 18-month rebuild of South Main Street between Vickery Boulevard and West Magnolia Avenue.

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Fort Worth Police association planning 25,000-square-foot offices

The POA, which recently demolished its one-story building at 904 Collier St. near downtown, is planning a five-story replacement.

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Economist: U.S. economy is growing, companies are hiring

 

Mark Dotzour

A. Lee Graham
lgraham@bizpress.net

Viewed through the lens of diminished expectations, the U.S. economy is growing, homebuyers are snapping up properties, and private companies are hiring again.

In fact, a leading economist says 2014 is shaping up to be a promising environment.

“I’m pretty optimistic about next year,” said Mark Dotzour, chief economist with the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center.

Speaking Dec. 4 at a Society of Commercial Realtors breakfast at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Dotzour described the economy as growing at a 2 percent pace, 2 to 3 percentage points slower than he said it should be growing.

Still, as measured from the economy’s sliding scale, Dotzour considers that good news.

“We’re going to get 2 percent again and maybe a little more this coming year,” said Dotzour, calling the pace “tepid.”

“I’ve decided tepid is the new excellent,” said Dotzour, blaming the diminished standard, at least in part, on a presidential administration he believes is not nurturing job growth. In fact, the economist likened Washington leadership to a governor device restraining speed on golf carts.

“The government is part of the drag on the golf cart,” Dotzour said.
Far from dragging down the economy are consumers, whose spending constitutes about 65 percent of the gross domestic product.

“We are world class at buying stuff. We can out-buy anybody on the planet,” said Dotzour, pointing to recently released Department of Commerce numbers showing personal spending as accelerating.

Housing is picking up a considerable chunk of the nation’s $75 trillion household net worth after diminished home values stalled sales in recent years, Dotzour said. Furthermore, household debt is dropping.

According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, household debt service payments as a percentage of disposable personal income has fallen to less than 10 percent compared to 13.5 percent in recent years.

“We are below the bottom of the normal range of income that goes to debt,” Dotzour said.

Hiring looks promising next year, with 32 percent of CEOs surveyed saying they plan to hire in 2014, according to the Business Roundtable, a group of conservative CEOs promoting pro-business public policy.

And manufacturing will pick up steam, Dotzour said.

“As we grow into energy independence in the production of natural gas and oil, the lower price of natural gas will make it even easier for these manufacturers to be globally competitive,” Dotzour said.

Despite public perception to the contrary, almost 4 million job openings are waiting to be filled, according to recently Bureau of Labor Statistics information. Among those 3.9 million total job openings nationwide are those in construction, manufacturing, retail, professional business services, health care and government.

“The bottom line is American people do not tolerate deferred gratification. They have net worth, and have money to spend, and job growth is increasing at a tepid rate. That’s why I’m bullish for 2014,” Dotzour said.
 

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