Texas Grows 3.9 Percent in First Quarter. California? 0.1 Percent…Wonder Why?

Melissa, a resident of San Diego with degrees in psychology and Spanish, could find work only at a fast-food restaurant, recounted an article in (of all places) the Los Angeles Times about how some conservatives fed up with California are looking to Texas for greener pastures — and not just economically. The final straw for Melissa was when her daughter came home from public school one day with a young adult novel as homework. The book celebrated the use of cigarettes and pills to cope with stress, and Melissa decided it was time to leave the Golden State.

She found Conservative Move, a website just launched to help Californians find a home in north Texas. She was one of the first of more than 3,700 visits to the website, which just started in May. Paul Chabot, a family man with four children who runs the website, explained:, “It began shortly after my wife and I decided to leave California in January of this year. We wanted a better life for our four young children and we found it in Texas. Our only regret was not doing it sooner.”

Appropriately, his company’s slogan is “Helping families move Right.”

Chabot connected Melissa with a realtor in Collin County, in north Texas. She sold her home in San Diego for $500,000, bought a new one in McKinney for $340,000, and loves it: “I’m so over California, I can’t see straight,” she said. “You can get more land [here] than I’ve ever seen. What was I thinking to stay [in San Diego] so long as I did? I feel like I’ve stepped into another world.”

Melissa may not be aware of it, but in the latest skirmish between California, the nation’s most populous state, and Texas, with the nation’s second-largest population, Texas won going away. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which just released its study of how all the states are performing economically, Texas came in first. California? 41st. In the first quarter of this year, the economy of the Lone Star State grew at an annual rate of 3.9 percent. Growth in the quarter in California was barely perceptible: 0.1 percent.

Activities in real estate, mining, and durable goods manufacturing explained the difference. The Texas economy, according to the BEA, was driven by the boom taking place in the mining sector as well as a large increase in manufacturing. On the other hand, California’s economy was dragged down by lackluster performance in arts, entertainment, recreation, retailing, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting. The contributions to California’s economy by construction, mining, and durable goods manufacturing in the first quarter were minimal.