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Texas Economic History


Texas economy
Texas economy

Few states possess as wide a variety of resources as Texas, and few support economic activities of comparable variety. The economy of Texas has closely reflected key technological developments that have occurred during the state’s history. For example, the availability of barbed wire in the 1880s to fence in cattle made possible improvements in cattle breeding and ranching. By the 1920s the ravages of the boll weevil elsewhere in the southern United States, combined with advances in irrigation techniques, led to greatly increased cotton production in the state, sustaining a major industry that has endured to the present. Commercial production of oil began in 1894. However, the first large-scale production resulted from the discovery of petroleum at Spindletop, near Beaumont, in the southeastern part of the state, in 1901.

During the 20th century Texas became the leading oil-producing and oil-refining state in the United States. At the same time, the state’s economy shifted gradually from dependence on agriculture and lumbering to large-scale manufacturing, spurred by industries associated with petroleum, such as the production of petrochemicals and the manufacture of equipment for the oil and gas industry. Oil, cotton, and cattle were joined by hundreds of other business and industrial activities. Some of these reflect technological developments, such as those of the aerospace and computer industries. Others reflect the need to diversify the state’s economy after a decline of oil prices in the mid-1980s, which hurt the state’s energy-producing industries.

In the late 20th century service industries—including banking and finance, health services, trade and transportation, and the leisure industry—began to expand their contribution to the state’s income, gradually overtaking manufacturing and agriculture in importance. The Texas economy also benefits from the many federal military installations located in the state and from other U.S. facilities such as the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, near Houston. A number of major corporations have headquarters in Texas, especially in Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. "Texas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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