Flexible Space: Fort Worth begins growing co-working spaces

Television shows and movies have popularized co-working space as the ultimate cool workplace experience with amenities such as fresh roasted coffee or cold brew, juice bars, beer on tap, ping pong tables and ergonomic desks.

The open, collaborative vibe is rooted in the preferences of the millennial generation but it’s not just the kids or grandkids who are setting up shop in flexible office space environments anymore.

David Chappell, a longtime attorney with the Cantey Hanger law firm in Fort Worth, rents an office in the WeWork co-working space at Clearfork. The space suits his needs for meeting with clients in his law practice and his consulting business, which is focused on technology and intellectual property protection.

“I really enjoy working here,” Chappell. “I meet new and interesting people every day.”

Chappell moved from an executive office without a window to this space, where he acquired a window and what he considers a more stimulating work environment. At age 75, he is probably the oldest client of the WeWork space but not everyone there is under 35.

“There are people of all ages doing all different types of work,” he said.

The potential IPO of WeWork has put the co-working office space sector in the spotlight for its “unprecedented” and “meteoric” growth in commercial real estate, according to CBRE, a national commercial real estate services and investment firm.

During 2018, flexible office space in the top 10 markets grew by 25 percent, with Manhattan leading in square footage growth and Seattle leading in percentage growth, according to CBRE research.

Fortune 500 companies are beginning to look at ways to add flexible office space into their real estate strategies, which would further grow this sector of the office market, according to CBRE.

“The world’s top companies recognize there is no one-size-fits-all flexible approach, just like there’s no one type of worker,” said Doug Sharp, president of Corporate Solutions, Americas, for JLL, a global real estate services and investment firm. “This is one of the reasons we see so much runway for flex space in the U.S. office markets – it addresses several core needs for employers and employees alike.”

The Dallas-Fort Worth market is the seventh largest in the United States based on square footage of flexible office space, according to the latest research by CBRE. Flexible office space grew 19 percent to 2.48 million square feet in D-FW in 2018 from 2017, accounting for 1.13 percent of D-FW’s total office inventory.

Clay Curlee, JLL vice president of workplace strategy, said there is enormous demand for flexible office space in D-FW because of corporate relocations and booming population growth.

Dallas leads the market with 82 operating sites compared with 21 in the Fort Worth area, Curlee said.

“The numbers are very fluid with new sites opening all the time,” Curlee said. “It’s become a huge phenomenon because there is little to no capital expense.”

Regus is the leading flex space provider in D-FW, largely because of its higher inventory of executive suites, said Curlee, who is based in Dallas. Regus has several locations in Fort Worth and North Texas.

In Fort Worth, the largest concentration of co-working spaces is in South and Southwest Fort Worth rather than in downtown, although that is starting to change.

WeWork has opened two co-working locations downtown — one in the Commerce Building and another in Sundance Plaza South.

San Diego-based CommonGrounds Workplace will open its first Texas location in downtown Fort Worth this summer. A second location in Houston will follow a few months later.

“Our target is the enterprise client and we feel that Fort Worth is a good market for that,” said Nick Baird, a membership development executive for CommonGrounds, a company that plans to expand from seven locations to about 40 by the end of 2020.

While the enterprise client, defined as a corporation or established company, represents the sweet spot of the office market due to stability and ability to pay higher rent and fees, the co-working market is dominated by startups, freelancers and solo practitioners in various occupations.

“A lot of the people who gravitate to co-working spaces are people who used to work at home and want a less isolated environment,” said David Walters, a senior vice president for CBRE in Fort Worth. “They are drawn to these spaces because of the cost, the opportunity for collaboration and the amenities.”

Fort Worth’s mix of co-working space is similar to that in other major metro markets, ranging from an add-on to a coffee shop to multi-floor operations in high-rise office towers with resplendent common spaces that resemble high-end hotel lobbies.

People drawn to the more sophisticated co-working spaces offered by operators such as Regus and WeWork like the turnkey work environment with office equipment included and the shorter leases than traditional offices typically demand, Walters said.

“A lot of these users are regional sales reps for big companies who travel frequently but need an office when they are in town,” Walters said. “Those people want offices closer to their homes so that’s why there’s so many in Southwest Fort Worth.”

Among clients, the reasons for choosing co-working spaces over traditional office spaces run the gamut.

Darien George, managing partner of Mackenzie Eason Associates, recently moved his talent development and executive search firm from the WeWork location at Clearfork to WeWork space in Sundance Square.

“We have a larger office space now and we are downtown, which is important because that’s where many of our clients are located,” George said.

With eight employees, George said, he considered traditional office space but decided to stay in a co-working space because of the shorter lease, the culture and amenities and the benefit of having a desk available at other WeWork locations around the country whenever he travels for business.

“There’s a perception that people in co-working spaces are younger people looking for a live, work, play environment,” George said. “That’s a misperception. There are people of all ages in various levels of their careers in co-working spaces for very practical reasons.”

For instance, Lockheed Martin has put employees in co-working spaces as the company figures out how many short-term and permanent employees it needs to manage its newest defense contracts, Walters said.

“There’s no need for them to invest in a lot of permanent space until they figure out the body count situation,” he said.

For some, the co-working experience, particularly the opportunity for collaboration and interaction among professionals in different fields, is a driving factor.

Rachel Marker, a principal in the mostly female-owned architectural and design firm of Arcturis, experienced all types of work space during the two years she juggled the demands of a business consulting firm during her around-the-world travels with her husband.

After returning to Fort Worth and joining Arcturis, she moved from working at home to a Regus flex space arrangement.

She was so enamored with the experience at Regus that she mimicked the environment in the traditional office space the Texas branch of the St. Louis-based firm moved into last year.

“We want this to be a place where people want to hang out,” Marker said. “When St. Louis-based employees are in town, they have a desk to use and we have flexible space to encourage collaboration and interaction.”

Just opening on the Near Southside is Backlot Studio and Workspace. Backlot has over 12,000-square feet and includes studio space for rent for film production as well as workspaces designed for photography shoots and music production as well as furnished workspaces for creative companies.

Tamara Payne, who opened the first female-owned co-working space in North Texas three years ago, said promoting collaboration among clients is the hallmark of her operation, Ensemble Coworking. Her clients’ work includes everything from graphic design to insurance sales, accounting, engineering and consulting.

“Women are by nature nurturers,” she said. “I feel very strongly that co-working is about building a sense of community to foster success for everyone through building relationships for support and mentoring and for sharing resources.”

Payne is planning to expand Ensemble Coworking to other Fort Worth-area locations at some point.

“Our goal is to stay small to serve small business,” she said.

Source: http://www.fortworthbusiness.com/news/flexible-space-fort-worth-begins-growing-co-working-spaces/article_6fd74090-7e5b-11e9-8aef-6b4fe8ad1a94.html

Why DFW was named top real estate market to watch in 2019

With a relatively low cost of living and population growth projections that outstrip other U.S. cities by two times, Dallas-Fort Worth has been named the top real estate market to watch in 2019.

The Emerging Trends in Real Estate for 2019 report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute ranked the Metroplex as the number one market for overall real estate prospects in 2019 out of 78 other cities.

Austin and San Antonio also made it into the top 20 for overall real estate prospects in the annual forecast report, which is compiled from thousands of interviews with real estate experts across a spectrum of industries.

Mitch Roschelle, a partner at PwC, said the economic data points analyzed for the report suggest the strength of the economy and the discipline being practiced in the real estate market.

“If there is a downturn ahead of us, it won’t be real estate that caused it,” he said. “Right now, there’s way more discipline in all activities in real estate than there has been in any other time in the modern era. We haven’t gotten ahead of ourselves in terms of real estate development. I hope that real estate folks remain as conservative as they have in creating new supply.”

Roschelle said he’s seeing that conservative behavior in Dallas-Fort Worth and it has kept the market from getting ahead of itself despite the ever-growing demand and push for growth.

As for what makes North Texas the one to watch next year, he said several factors come into play.

“The things that have been important in years past have been markets that have low cost of living and low, relative to the national average, cost of doing business. That’s where companies want to be and that’s where people want to be,” Roschelle said.

The low cost of living, low cost of doing business and tax efficiency continue to draw people to Dallas-Fort Worth, he said. And so much so that the area’s population growth rate is projected to be more than two times the national average in 2019.

“The growth in the population is skewed towards younger folks in Dallas,” Roschelle said. “The growth in the 0 to 24 age category is high and in the 25 to 40 category. [The population] is becoming younger, and those people are all the workers for the future.”

But as the population in the Metroplex grows, affordable housing is becoming more of an issue. Although affordable single-family homes are a contributor to Dallas-Fort Worth’s success, there aren’t enough of them, according to the report.

The report says focus group respondents in the Dallas area pointed to an increasingly prevalent “not in my backyard” mentality as the reason for the slow down in available workforce housing.

“Dallas traditionally was a place where there was a piece of land, and if someone wanted to build on it, they just built on it,” Roschelle said.

Now, though, developers are often met with a “you’re not building that thing near me” attitude, which tends to add hurdles like cost and time, he said. This contributes to the problem that Dallas-Fort Worth is facing with additions to housing supply not keeping pace with demand.

What the Dallas area has going for it, though, is a diverse and stable employment base thanks to the wide spectrum of industries represented in the area, Roschelle said. The report indicates that the market is expected to have high growth and low volatility when it comes to employment in 2019.

Here are a few things the report says to keep an eye on in 2019:

Best bets

  • Industrial development investments: With the expansion of the e-commerce industry, industrial facilities, which are seeing historically low vacancy rates, will continue to be in high demand. “Barring a trade war of serious proportions, industrials offer great risk-adjusted returns,” according to the report.
  • Garden apartments: “While the multifamily sector registered an overall NCREIF total return of 6.38 percent, the garden apartment component was near a double-digit total return at 9.33 percent,” the report says. Appreciation in value is what accounted the over-performance for such properties. And the pricing for garden apartments, or low-rise complexes typically with direct access to outdoor space, reflects a higher-yield 5.7 percent cap rate compared to the 4.9 percent cap rate for mid-to-high-rise properties.
  • Quick-flip, value-add deals: Timing with these deals is key, the report says. They should be executed by 2020 to maximize late-cycle opportunity, “and the geographic focus needs to be in markets where assets have not yet been priced to perfection.”
  • Redeployment of retail properties: “Many shopping center properties are just not going to come back as successful retail assets,” the report says. But many have potential for alternative uses like mixed use for properties in close-in suburbs or distribution centers that can capitalize on the e-commerce trend.

Issues on the horizon

  • Insurance costs related to increasing natural disasters: The report says the volume of natural disasters in 2018 is evidence that the risk of such catastrophes – “most due to climate change” – has been intensifying. Because of this, insurers and reinsurers are experiencing massive payouts and will be pricing this into premiums in the future. “Having adequate coverage and budgeting for increased operating expenses should definitely be high on the list of items that property owners need to watch in 2019,” according to the report.
  • Cybersecurity vulnerabilities: Cybersecurity issues that come with increasing interconnectedness have become more and more obvious and have affected many industries including real estate. “One REIT interviewee highlighted a need to establish industry norms and best practices for both primary defense purposes and for evaluating risk/reward parameters stemming from technology,” the report says.
  • Infrastructure: Deficiencies in infrastructure are impactful for real estate. The report pulled data from the American Society of Civil Engineers, which shows the multitrillion-dollar shortfalls in investment in key assets and the associated costs that affect businesses. “By 2025, the United States sacrifices $3.9 trillion in GDP and $7 trillion in reduced business sales. Failure to address the issue means 2.5 million fewer jobs created and a shortfall of household income of $3,400 annually,” according to the report.
  • Immigration: “The draconian approach to border security is a massive self-inflicted wound with immediate negative economic consequences and long-term weakening of our national growth potential,” the report says. The impacts on demand growth, the reduction in the baseline for real potential GDP growth and the implications for bringing the country’s fertility rate below population replacement level should be reasons for pause, it says.

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2018/10/10/dfw-named-top-real-estate-market-to-watch.html

Dallas-Fort Worth Economic Indicators – Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

January 3, 2020

Dallas–Fort Worth economic growth remained on track in November. Payroll employment grew at a rapid clip, and unemployment stayed low. The Dallas and Fort Worth business-cycle indexes expanded at an above-average pace. Housing market indicators suggest steady home-price appreciation and continued homebuilding activity. Home inventories remained tight, particularly at the lower price points.

Labor Market

Payrolls Expansion Robust

DFW employment rose an annualized 4.8 percent in November (Chart 1). Payroll expansion moderated to 1.8 percent in Dallas, while employment grew 12.8 percent in Fort Worth after declining for three months. Through November, Dallas has added jobs at a 2.2 percent annual rate, and Fort Worth employment has grown 2.8 percent.

Unemployment Remains Low

The DFW labor market continued to be tight, with unemployment close to multiyear lows. In November, the unemployment rate remained at 3.2 percent in Dallas and 3.3 percent in Fort Worth (Chart 2). Unemployment remains below the state and U.S. rates.

Business-Cycle Indexes

Expansion in the Dallas and Fort Worth business-cycle indexes continued in November, supported by strong job growth. The Dallas index rose an annualized 4.4 percent, slightly slower than October’s rate. Growth in the Fort Worth index was strong at 11.1 percent. Year over year in November, the Dallas index rose 4.6 percent, and the Fort Worth index was up 4.3 percent (Chart 3).

Housing Market

Single-Family Construction Rises

Homebuilding remained active in the metroplex, buoyed by housing demand. DFW single-family housing permits dipped slightly in October and November after rising strongly during the summer, and the three-month moving average showed continued growth (Chart 4). Through November, total single-family permits were trailing issuance for the same period last year by 4.0 percent in DFW but were 1.0 percent higher in Texas. DFW single-family permit growth decelerated to 3.4 percent last year after growing 15.8 percent in 2017.

Home-Price Appreciation Holds Steady

DFW home prices rose in the third quarter as solid job creation and tight home inventories propelled increases. House prices rose 1.3 percent in Dallas and 1.2 percent in Fort Worth in the third quarter, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s house price purchase-only index. On a year-over-year basis, prices were up 3.8 percent in Dallas and 5.9 percent in Fort Worth, while U.S. and Texas prices both increased 4.9 percent (Chart 5). Home-price appreciation in the metroplex has slowed from its torrid pace in 2015–17, when prices in both Dallas and Fort Worth rose by 10 percent annually.

Home Inventories Stay Tight

DFW existing-home inventories remained tight and well below the six months’ supply typically associated with a balanced market. Inventories inched up in 2018 but have been fairly stable this year; in November 2019, they were at 3.1 months in Dallas and 2.5 months in Fort Worth, slightly below the Texas and U.S levels of 3.6 months and 3.8 months, respectively (Chart 6). Inventories of entry-level homes (priced below $200,000) were the tightest around 1.6 months of supply—a level that has changed little the past three years. Inventories of homes priced from $200,000 to $299,999 were just over two months.

NOTE: Data may not match previously published numbers due to revisions.

About Dallas–Fort Worth Economic Indicators

Questions can be addressed to Laila Assanie at [email protected]. Dallas–Fort Worth Economic Indicators is published every month on the Tuesday after state and metro employment data are released.

Source: https://www.dallasfed.org/research/indicators/dfw/2020/dfw2001.aspx

Here’s the map of where T-Mobile will offer wireless 5G service in Dallas-Fort Worth

T-Mobile US Inc. has jumped to an early lead in the race to offer 5G service nationwide, a step toward showing it can be a serious competitor to larger rivals if it gains approval for its $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint Corp.

Starting Friday, when T-Mobile stores begin offering their first two 5G phones, the service will be available across the country. But it won’t be the much-vaunted 5G experience that wireless carriers have been promising: The service is on a low-band 600-megahertz signal, which provides broad coverage but not blazing speeds.

The offering is a precursor to a more robust network that the company says will be made possible with the combination of Sprint’s massive airwave holdings.

“This is the foundational layer of our 5G service,” said Karri Kuoppamaki, vice president of network technology development and strategy. The 600-megahertz band covers large territories and travels through walls and deep into buildings. “You won’t have to go to a specific street corner to get a signal that works,” he said.

U.S. carriers are vying to become leaders in 5G, hoping to capture early adopters and the first wave of new revenue. But the arrival of full-fledged 5G service — with as much as 100 times faster speeds and nearly zero lag time — is still a few years away.

The initial 5G service with low-band spectrum can deliver performance that’s comparable to the current T-Mobile network. But like all the other wireless operators, T-Mobile will follow up in the coming months and years with higher-frequency signals to move data faster and provide greater network capacity.

Verizon, AT&T

Verizon Communications Inc. has started a high band 5G service in small parts of 15 cities, with expansion to 30 markets expected by year-end. Verizon initially charged an extra $10 a month for the service but has since waived the fee. AT&T Inc. plans to have its own low-band 5G in parts of 12 cities in the coming weeks, available only to its high-tier customers, and has vowed to extend the service nationwide by the middle of next year.

Expanded 5G service is a crucial promise T-Mobile has made to secure approval for the Sprint takeover. The deal has won approval from the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission, but it faces a lawsuit from several state attorneys general. The case is scheduled for trial Dec. 9.

T-Mobile is promoting the 5G launch with special prices on two new phones: the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren, made by Oppo Co., a Chinese manufacturer, and the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G. T-Mobile’s 5G service will be available to regular monthly subscribers and pay-as-you-go customers at no extra cost.

Just as they did with previous generations of wireless technology, the carriers are providing coverage maps so consumers can compare service. T-Mobile will have a website to explore where its 5G service is available. Verizon has city maps that show where it has its high band “ultra” 5G service. And AT&T has its own city maps.

Source: https://www.dallasnews.com/business/technology/2019/12/02/t-mobile-rolls-out-wireless-5g-service-in-dallas-and-5000-other-cities/

TEXRail Celebrates First Year of Service

The TEXRail train line is celebrating its first anniversary this year.

The 27-mile line which connects Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Fort Worth, with stops in Grapevine and North Richland Hills, promised to be a game-changer for Tarrant County.

“It just provides another option to beat some of the traffic and some of the stress commuters face on a daily basis,” said Jon-Erik Arjanen, vice president and chief operating officer for rail.

In that one year, TEXRail ridership reached 545,345 and the trains were on schedule 99.15% of the time.

“We came in on time and under budget. We went in and ran 6 months and then we added 30-minute headways,” Arjanen said. “We almost doubled the amount of trains.”

The TEXRail system has been used by realtors to sell and rent properties near the stations.

And the city of Grapevine has seen what some are calling the “TEXRail Effect” as it has become the most popular stop on the line.

“We had high expectations,” Grapevine Convention and Visitor Bureau Executive Director Paul McCallum said. “It has been very successful for Grapevine.”

“It’s tapped into all the communities between Grapevine and downtown Fort Worth, and those individuals make an excursion out of it,” he said. “The leisure visitor has been able to come to Grapevine.”

Source: https://www.nbcdfw.com/

Written by Larry Collins

DFW Airport adding organic, natural food retailer Plum Market

Travelers will soon have organic and all-natural food options at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport with the arrival of Texas’ first-ever Plum Market.

Hudson, the New Jersey-based airport retailer, reached an agreement with DFW Airport to open, license and operate a new Plum Market location.

The health-conscious food service store will operate out of a 2,400 square-foot space inside the airport’s Terminal B.

Plum Market intends to feature a restaurant and bar with a diverse menu of chef-crafted meals available to grab-and-go or enjoy onsite. The store will also include a retail selection of convenience items with natural, organic and sustainably sourced candies, packaged snacks and beverages from local brands, according to a press release.

Plum Market will be Hudson’s first restaurant and bar project at DFW Airport. The restaurant will be situated close to an American Airlines gate hold-room.

“Broadening our food and beverage offering is a key growth opportunity for our company as we monitor demand for natural, healthy options from passengers,” CEO Hudson Roger Fordyce said in a statement. “We’re delighted to partner with Plum Market to bring its organic and environmentally-kind choices to travelers and staff at DFW Airport.”

Detroit-based Plum Market has more than 25 multi-format locations, the company said. Most of its locations are in the Midwest.

Hudson is partnering with HG Multiplex DFW in the joint venture.

The location is expected to open in mid-2020.

Source: http://www.fortworthbusiness.com/

World’s Largest Asset Manager Shifts Focus to Climate Change

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, will make climate change central to its investment decisions going forward.

Founder and CEO Laurence Fink, who oversees the management of about $7 trillion in funds, said in his influential annual letter to CEOs Tuesday that he believes we are “on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance” because of a warming planet.

Climate change has become the top issue raised by clients, Fink said, and it will affect everything from municipal bonds to long-term mortgages for homes.

The New York firm is taking immediate action, exiting investments in coal used to generate power, and it will begin asking clients to disclose their climate-related risks.

“Because capital markets pull future risk forward, we will see changes in capital allocation more quickly than we see changes to the climate itself,” Fink wrote in the letter. “In the near future – and sooner than most anticipate – there will be a significant reallocation of capital.”

That shift is already underway.

The European Union plans to dedicate a quarter of its budget to tackling climate change and has set up a scheme to shift 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) in investment towards making the economy more environmentally friendly over the next 10 years.

The Europe Investment Plan, to be unveiled Tuesday, will be funded by the EU budget and the private sector. It aims to deliver on European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s Green Deal to make the bloc the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

Source: https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2020-01-14/worlds-largest-asset-manager-shifts-focus-to-climate-change

Travel app Omio the latest Berlin startup to take on North America

Berlin-based online travel company Omio is launching operations in North America, joining other European mobility and fintech startups in seeking to scale up operations in the world’s top travel and tourism market.

Naren Shaam, the founder-CEO mobility app Omio, is pictured before a Reuters interview in Berlin, Germany, January 13, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Omio https://www.omio.com, until its rebranding last year called GoEuro, competes with Britain’s Trainline in European rail travel, but also offers journey planning and ticketing for buses and flights via a smartphone app.

Naren Shaam, Omio’s Indian-born, Harvard-educated founder and CEO, said the U.S. and Canadian markets were a logical next step after the acquisition in October of Rome2Rio https://www.rome2rio.com, an Australian specialist in route discovery.

“There are two fundamental pillars that drive us as a company. The first is global inventory for transport is not on a single product,” Shaam, 37, said in an interview at Omio’s headquarters in Berlin’s fashionable Prenzlauer Berg district.

“The second pillar that drives us is that travel inherently is connected – and the products and the technology solutions today don’t offer a connected experience.”

It is partnering initially with rail operators Amtrak, VIA Rail Canada; airlines Delta and United, and bus companies OurBus and Academy, with more expected to follow.

Shaam moved to Berlin eight years ago to found the business and now has a following of 27 million monthly active users. Omio, like many start-ups, does not publish financial results.

It has attracted $296 million in investor funding. The last round in October 2018 was led by Swedish investor Kinnevik, Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek [TEM.UL] and Asia-focused private equity fund Hillhouse Capital.


Omio follows German travel app FlixMobility into North America but the two take different approaches. It is an aggregator whereas the Munich-based startup works with bus and train firms operating under its brand.

Shaam said the value in the business is created by its ability to manage complexity in ground travel, which doesn’t have standardized procedures as in the airline sector.

“It’s a full-service solution. It’s not just a meta search engine that is discovery based,” he said.

In the first stage of its North American expansion, Omio will offer ticketing for more than 23,000 train and bus routes, as well as flights. It estimates the “addressable” market there at $138 billion for air travel, and $8 billion for ground.

Shaam is counting on North American travelers, who make up 10% of Omio’s user base, becoming early adopters. And, he says, offering a choice of travel options along major corridors – such as the U.S. East Coast – makes good sense.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tech-omio/travel-app-omio-the-latest-berlin-startup-to-take-on-north-america-idUSKBN1ZD0Y4

Americans finally believe the economy is good

The old saying “time heals all wounds” applies to the economy. Stung by the Great Recession, it has taken a decade for many Americans to feel safe in their jobs and investments again.

The polls tell the story. As 2019 winds down, the economy is getting its best rating in almost 20 years. Overall, 76% of those polled rate the economy very or somewhat good, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. That’s up nine points from last year and the highest percentage since February 2001.

Time gets some of the credit. The president and his bullish megaphone get the rest.

Although the economy was well into recovery by the time Barack Obama left office, President Donald Trump came to the White House channeling the people in districts left behind. The big question for 2020 is whether they feel like he has helped them enough.

In his presidency, 443,000 new factory jobs have been created, far better than during the Obama years. But that growth has stalled and now the sector has turned into a recession.

Still, much of market and consumer psychology is confidence, a quality Trump has in surplus. He rarely misses a chance in front of the cameras and on Twitter to claim he has created the best economy in American history. He credits his tax cuts from 2017 and vast rollbacks of regulation.

On the debate stage last night, Democrats tried to make the case the Trump economy isn’t working for everyone.

Former Vice President Joe Biden wants to take back some of the president’s corporate tax cuts.

“We have to eliminate significant number of these God-awful tax cuts that were given to the wealthy,” he said.

Senator Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg zeroed in on stagnant wages.

“People are not getting paid enough, that is not the result of some mysterious cosmic force that is the result of bad policy,” Buttigieg said.

Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to tax the mega rich to pay for programs for everyone else and Sanders wants free government-run healthcare.

Though knocking Trump on the economy is a tough sell, it is not as supercharged as the president claims. Job creation in his first 33 months in office trails the final 33 months of the Obama years.

The 2.1% economic growth in the third quarter is not the 3%, 4%, 5% or even 6% growth he promised.

But it is good enough. Recession fears from the summer have evaporated. The unemployment rate is at 50-year low. The S&P 500 is up 27% this year and the major US stock market averages are near record highs.

For markets, Trump’s impeachment is a non-event. The trade war with China ends the year simmering, not boiling. And the House passed the big modernization of NAFTA, with the Senate expected to finalize it in the New Year.

For now, the economy is clearly advantage-Trump.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/