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Economic summit headline: A slowing economy

Economist Luis Torres provides context about the state of the Texas and Hill Country Economy.

A Dallas Federal Reserve economist told Kerr County business and political leaders something they probably expected on Thursday — a slowing economic outlook. 

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Luis Torres, a San Antonio-based economist with the Federal Reserve, made those comments during the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hill Country Economic Summit. 

“But just think about everything that is happening, we’re slowing down,” said Torres, who made his second consecutive appearance at the summit.

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The backbone of Torres’ presentation was data points that saw some declines in labor costs, demand for goods and prices. Not one to offer a forecast, Torres said these factors and rising interest rates are poised to drive the economy to a crawl. 

Torres said Kerr County’s employment growth has slowed, but that doesn’t mean the region’s ability to fill jobs is cooling. Like many places, Kerr County has positions to fill — and not enough people to fill them. 

Overall, Torres’ comments about the Texas economy are not surprising — trumpeting the state’s achievements in bouncing back from the pandemic. Torres expects the state’s job growth numbers to increase by 1.4% in 2023. 

The half-day summit featured discussions about attainable housing, significant projects coming to Kerr County and an emphasis on cyber security. The initial cyber security conversation, led by FBI agent Lee McLoy, focused on sex crimes and online grooming. Kerr County Sheriff’s Investigator Lucas Flores tackled the business side of cybercrime — hacking, social engineering attacks and other fraudulent practices. 

The questions about cyber drove plenty of questions from the audience of about 200 people. 

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