Comerica Bank's Texas Index Increased, but the Rig Count Has Stalled

July 26, 2017
By Robert A Dye, Ph.D., Daniel Sanabria

Comerica Bank’s Texas Economic Activity Index increased by 0.6 percentage points in May to a level of 98.6. May’s index reading is 26 points, or 36 percent, above the index cyclical low of 72.8. The index averaged 91.2 points for all of 2016, six and three-tenths points below the average for full-year 2015. April’s index reading was 97.5.

“The Comerica Bank Texas Economic Activity Index increased for the ninth consecutive month in May. This is good news, but we can also see that the rate of increase is cooling, coincident with the plateauing of the state drilling rig count. The rig count had been steadily increasing from mid-2015 through early 2017. Since late May, the weekly rig count for Texas has stabilized near 463 active rigs. This is coincident with the drop in oil prices from over $57/barrel in early January, to a low of less than $43/barrel in late June. In July we have seen an upward trend in oil prices, to about $47.50, still well below the January peak. Six out of eight index components were positive in May. They were nonfarm employment, unemployment insurance claims (inverted), house prices, sales tax revenue, hotel occupancy and the rig count. “The rig count sub-index had a smaller positive contribution in May. That will decrease in June,” said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. “The large non-energy component of the state economy still has good momentum, but the push from the recovering energy sector will ease going forward.”

For a PDF Version of the Texas Economic Activity Index click here: Texas_State_Index 0717