Texomland, Economically Speaking, Doing Great!

Texomaland has done well in surviving the pandemic, economically speaking. There have been a lot of economic setbacks, but when you drive around in both states, you see cars parked in front of all the businesses with people bustling about. If you are looking for a job in Texomland, the companies who regularly hire for the holidays just put out their websites to apply for those temporary jobs. There are thousands of full-time job postings on the online job boards from low to high paying opportunities. Unemployment rates have fallen considerably from last spring's high in Oklahoma and Texas. The Texoma Council of Governments (TCOG) just received a grant from the Cares Act passed on March 27, 2020 by Congress which will positively affect Cooke, Grayson, and Fannin counties in Texas. Shopping habits are changing, but how? The following is a snapshot of Texomaland’s economic health addressing these issues.


TCOG’s website contains a wealth of information for the southern shores of Lake Texoma’s residents. The staff is friendly, super professional, and while it may be hard to make a first contact by phone, the staff returns all phone calls and is prompt with emails. TCOG received their share of Care Act Recovery Assistance grant of $400,000 this week and has exciting news!

From TCOG’s spokesperson, Sean Norton:

“TCOG has begun the process of recruiting a regional project coordinator who will work with an outside consultant to create a region-wide COVID-19 pandemic business and economic development recovery plan for the Texoma region. This individual will provide planning and technical assistance to cities, counties and agencies while attending meetings and seminars and making presentations related to assisting the communities in the region with economic injury related to the pandemic.”

As you can see, TCOG is in the planning stages of how to distribute the grant. As TCOG makes decisions and plans, they usually announce them to the public through press releases. Check out TCOG’s website for future press releases as they prepare to help the communities and businesses they serve: https://www.tcog.com/about/news/

Unemployment Rates: Oklahoma, Texas, and Texomaland

In August 2020 the U.S. unemployment rate was 8.4% with Oklahoma at 5.7% and Texas at 6.8%. Of course that is not what we would choose, but also not close to what those rates stood at in April at 13.7% in Oklahoma and 10.8% in May in Texas. We are doing much better than the state rates in Texomland counties. In July for Oklahoma, Bryan County was 3.2%, Love County was 2.5%, and Marshall County was 3.6%. In July for Texas, Cooke County was 3.0%, Fannin County was 3.0, and Grayson County was 3.3%. The unemployment rates in Texomland counties almost mirror January and February 2020 rates. (1, 2)

Who’s Hiring for Temporary Holiday Jobs and Permanent Jobs?

The usual companies with heavy holiday shopping business: FedX, UPS, and Walmart. Walmart plans to hire 20,000 seasonal workers in it’s ecommerce fulfillment centers across the U.S. FedX will hire 70,000, and UPS expects to hire 100,000 people for the holiday season in the U.S. I found invitations to apply to all three in Texomland. Numerous retailers expect online orders and are gearing up for 2020’s pandemic-centric holiday season.

Looking at the well-known and not so popular online job boards and recruiting websites, thousands of employers have posted permanent jobs for the Texomland region. The opportunities have a wide range in terms of pay and skill requirements, but there are tons of job offers from needing unskilled labor to high-income positions. While it is easy to look for employment online, people can look beyond the super job board websites like Indeed or ZipRecruiter for local employment websites and companies.

How Will the Pandemic Change Holiday Shopping?

Walmart sets the pace for understanding changes in shopping habits this year. Big changes are in order for Walmart’s Black Friday events. Walmart is going to spread out traditional Black Friday prices throughout the holiday shopping season and will offer more Black Friday deals in-store and online earlier. Walmart will continue reduced store hours through the season. The company has taken notice that their customer’s shopping habits have changed since March, and is offering more gifts to fit the current lifestyles.

Walmart and Target will close on Thanksgiving Day. Other retailers will operate at limited capacity, but may extend Black Friday through Cyber Monday. We can expect to see Black Friday deals before Halloween. Convenience and safety is affecting consumer choices while holiday shopping, so the shipping industry will hustle to get products on doorsteps on time. Retailers are trying to figure out how to market big-ticket products without shoppers browsing for them in-store first, like lying on a bed or looking at the newest flat-screen TV’s features in living color. The prediction is that stores may not have return policies, or they will have quarantine policies. (3)

Statistically, U.S. Retail Shopping Habits Are Changing Through the Pandemic

Online shopping increased over different categories since the pandemic began. Mckinnsey.com reports that a survey found U.S. shoppers who increased their online shopping will continue after the pandemic. Sales of essential items and home entertainment products online heavily increased. Millennials and people who earn high incomes shop more online than other demographics. Gen X is next. Gen Z is shopping online for apparel, shoes, home-entertainment, and food delivery or take out meals.

Curbside pickup increased 50% with the top 500 U.S. retailers by this August. Brand loyalty is on a decline. Seventy-five percent of consumers have tried a new shopping method, a different brand, a different retailer, store or website, a private label or store brand, and new digital shopping methods. The main reasons given for switching brands and stores or online retailers are: in-store and online availability, convenience, and value.

A major concern with consumers is hygiene and hygiene transparency. They demand that stores and restaurants follow cleaning protocols. Contactless shopping technology popularity is on the rise, but Millennials and Gen Zs are taking more advantage of it then other sectors. Forty percent of U.S. shoppers have reduced spending with intent to increase spending in essential categories. For example, mass and value shampoo products sales have risen above premium shampoo products. Techcrunch.com reports that the pandemic has accelerated the shift to online shopping by 5 years with an expected 20% increase in online shopping in 2020. (4-6)

Grocery Store Shopping Habits

Our grocery shopping habits are changing as well. One disparity between shopping habits is showing up in a difference between low and high-income consumers. Dean of Tufts University’s nutrition science school in Boston, Massachusetts, Dariush Mozaffarian, said, “There are two different reactions to covid — a small number who are getting health conscious and reacquainting themselves with real food, and a larger group that is going with comfort food that is cheap and shelf-stable.” More men are doing the household shopping, and they buy differently than women. Men look for bulk purchases in Sam’s Club and Costco, shop in convenience stores, and online. More women than men make lists, and now shoppers tend to take a list of essential or always-used products and browse less. Two-thirds of grocery shoppers purchase in-store but are limiting the number of visits per month and stocking up.

All in all, since the new normal invaded the U.S. grocery marketplace: 78% of shoppers changed where they shop for groceries. Forty percent shopped at fewer stores, and 28% shop more online. Fifteen percent avoided stores where they usually shop, 11% changed the store they shop at most frequently, 10% shop at different kinds of stores, and 10% have stopped shopping in-store. (7-10)


1. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/release/tables?rid=116&eid=255693
2. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/release/tables?rid=116&eid=256091
3. https://www.degdigital.com/insights/6-retail-changes-affecting-2020-holiday-shopping-season/
4. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-great-consumer-shift-ten-charts-that-show-how-us-shopping-behavior-is-changing
5. https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2020/08/25/ecommerce-during-coronavirus-pandemic-in-charts/
6. https://techcrunch.com/2020/08/24/covid-19-pandemic-accelerated-shift-to-e-commerce-by-5-years-new-report-says/
7. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1105255/coronavirus-grocery-shopping-behavior-change-by-age-us/
8. https://www.supermarketnews.com/consumer-trends/it-s-new-scene-grocery-shopping-pandemic-changes-behaviors
9. https://www.supermarketnews.com/online-retail/online-grocery-sales-grow-40-2020
10. https://www.washingtonpost.com/road-to-recovery/2020/09/01/grocery-shopping-coronavirus-impact/

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Lake Texoma

Fishing Report from TPWD (Nov. 29)

GOOD. Water normal stained; 65 degrees; 2.55 feet below pool. Striped bass fishing is good with gulls working active fish around main lake river ledges in 60-70 feet of water. Drift live shad or flukes suspended 30-40 feet down. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are fair on live shad along the bluffs, and the main lake points off the banks. Swimbaits are landing catches off the boulders and on the clay banks. Catfish are good, drifting large cut shad chunks along deep flats off the river channels in 50-60 feet of water. Bigger fish will start to move shallower with colder water temperatures. Crappie are slow on jigs and minnows fishing brush in 10-15 feet of water and around docks. Report by Jacob Orr, Lake Texoma Guaranteed Guide Service. Striped bass are good with daily limits under the birds. Fish midlake schools with slabs, swimbaits and live bait. There is some deadstick action. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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