Texas: Industry in the Late Twentieth Century

Industry in the Late Twentieth Century

In the 1960s, Texas began to develop its technology industries as oil became less easy to exploit—even though soaring oil prices in the 1970s caused the energy industry to boom. Since then, the state has become a preferred location for the headquarters of large corporations from airlines and retail chains to telecommunications and chemical companies. High-technology industries have boomed since the 1980s, especially in the Dallas–Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin areas. The state's economy proved still vulnerable to the fluctuations of the energy industry in the mid-1980s, however, when falling oil prices resulted in massive layoffs, hurting the state's real estate market and in turn precipitating the failure of hundreds of savings and loans in the state.

Texas has, however, continued to grow, becoming the second most populous state in the nation. Its political influence has grown commensurately, and since the 1960s three sons (or adopted sons) of Texas have been president of the nation: Lyndon Johnson, George Herbert Walker Bush, and George Walker Bush. While the Democratic party dominated the state through the 1970s, Republicans currently hold the majorities in all of its government's branches. The last Democrat to serve as governors was Ann Richards (1991-95), but she served only one term and was defeated by Republican George W. Bush (1995-2002). After Bush was elected president of the United States, Lt. Gov. Rick Perry succeeded him as governor (Dec., 2000) and was elected to three terms in office (2003-2015). The Republican party has steadily moved to the right, with current Governor Greg Abbott (2015- ) enacting laws to restrict access to voting and severely limit abortion, as well as defying calls for vaccination against COVID-19.

In 2001, 2005, 2008, 2017, and 2019 SE Texas suffered extensive damage as a result of Tropical Storm Allison, Hurricanes Rita, Ike, and Harvey, and Tropical Storm Imelda, respectively, and in 2011 the effects of severe drought and unusually hot summer temperatures contributed to numerous and sometimes devastating wildfires in parts of the state. In Feb. 2021, a major winter storm hit the area, leading to widespread power outages throughout the state.

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