The U.S. Producer Price Index jumped to a nearly 10-year high in March as producers reported higher prices of diesel fuel, electric power, industrial chemicals, steel mill products, plastics, machinery, and freight.

March’s reading of 1% was twice the forecast of 0.5% by economists polled by Reuters. For the 12-month period ended in March, the change was 4.2%, outpacing forecasts of 3.8%.

James Knightley, Chief International Economist for ING Group, said that fuel costs contributed significantly to the change but added, “there is evidence of broadening price pressures.”

“At the same time the ISM reports that customer inventories are at…

Texas has recorded a higher unemployment rate than the national average throughout most of the past year, and part of the reason for that is the downturn in the energy sector.

Just over a year ago, two in ten Texans worked in mining, quarrying, oil, or gas — about four times the national average. But between February and September last year, Texas shed about 65,000 of 235,000 jobs in the sector, though it has since regained nearly 10,000 of those, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

A stabilizing oil market is raising hopes of fresh hiring in some of…

Solar installers can make $20-$40 an hour in Austin. Stock photo.

The broader U.S. economy may still be hurting, but Austin’s job market is basically already back to where it was before the pandemic, with labor shortages emerging in certain industries.

Lower employment levels in the hospitality, healthcare, and other sectors have largely been offset by gains in construction, tech, financial services, and transportation.

The number of construction workers is up more than 2% from a year ago, and a boom in e-commerce has boosted employment in the transportation sector about 2.5%, according to Labor Department statistics for the five-county area that includes Austin.

Massive investments in commercial real estate are…

A “Boogaloo Boy” dons a patch featuring both the Goliad Flag of the Texas Revolution, and Hawaiian patterns typical of the Boogaloo movement. © Honest Austin

About two dozen armed protesters gathered Sunday at the gates of the Texas Capitol grounds, which are closed through Inauguration Day “out of an abundance of caution.”

The protesters didn’t carry any Trump banners or regalia, as protesters at the U.S. Capitol had done January 6. They generally said their rally had nothing to do with the recent events in Washington.

Instead, they said their show of force was intended to demonstrate support for gun rights. Many wore insignia identifying them as part of the Boogaloo movement, which consists of loosely organized, libertarian, anti-authoritarian protest groups. …

In the aftermath of an October 30 slaying in a North Austin neighborhood, a detective located a vehicle nearby that was linked to the slaying through surveillance footage.

The maroon four-door vehicle didn’t have plates.

Officers believed that the vehicle, found at an apartment complex, had been used by two marijuana dealers implicated in the killing that took place in the nearby Georgian Acres neighborhood, according to witness accounts cited in an arrest affidavit.

The victim in the killing, Jose Francisco Galeano Antunez, had just wrapped up a day on the job and was talking with two friends in a…

Andy Brown, a former Travis County Democratic Party chairman and advisor to Beto O’Rourke, became the Travis County Judge (chief executive) November 17.

In a brief speech after his swearing-in at the county commissioners court, Brown indicated that his priorities in office would include tackling COVID-19, criminal justice reform, and battling climate change, which he said could be done by tackling traffic congestion in the county.

Brown, a Democrat, won the party’s nomination in August by a vote of county precinct chairs, which is the method used to select a candidate when there isn’t enough time to hold a primary…

Mayor Steve Adler at a June rally © Honest Austin

A group of African American activists identifying as the ‘Black Austin Coalition’ held a press conference Saturday demanding a minimum of $50 million per year as ‘restitution’ for historical wrongs perpetrated against Blacks in the city.

Demands for slavery reparations have made little headway in Washington DC, but activists have successfully pressured city governments to pay up, including in Asheville, NC, and Evanston, IL.

In Austin’s case, the activists are asking for restitution payments for 20th century wrongs, such as the discriminatory 1928 Master Plan, which wouldn’t preclude them from later pressuring governments for additional reparations for 19th century wrongs…

Chas Moore

A world without police would be one “filled with mimosas and jazz and dancing,” Chas Moore, leader of Austin’s foremost depolicing organization, told a rally November 4.

Moore’s Austin Justice Coalition, or AJC, is basking in recent successes and strong ties with power players in local politics, including the mayor, council members, and state lawmakers.

Years of lobbying forged these relationships, but AJC took on new prominence since June, when the group organized a huge rally demanding that the city defund the police.

Austin City Council responded in August when it voted to cut police funding by about a third…

John Nielsen, whose daughter Monica was killed by her abuser, testifies in the Texas Senate, March 4, 2019

The Texas judiciary has launched an online database that gives the public access to lists of protective orders issued by Texas courts as a result of domestic violence.

The database strips out certain details to protect victims’ privacy, while still alerting the public to the identify of abusers.

“The Texas Protective Order Registry fills in an information gap that existed between the courts, law enforcement and the public,” said state Representative Brooks Landgraf (Odessa), who sponsored the 2019 bill that created the registry, SB 325.

Known as “Monica’s Law,” SB 325 was named in honor of Monica Deming, an Odessa…

There’s a lot of money that goes into getting candidates elected, but not so much that goes into tracking political giving and ensuring compliance with Texas ethics rules.

The Texas Ethics Commission is the agency tasked collecting and publishing candidate reports on donations and expenses, registering lobbyists, enforcing contribution limits in judicial races, and enforcing other ethics rules intended to promote public confidence in government.

Yet the agency is operating without the IT personnel that it needs, uses legacy servers to maintain databases of critical public records, struggles to keep software licensing costs within budget, and tracks public information requests…

Honest Austin

Original reporting on local Austin news, Texas politics, and the economy. honestaustin.com

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