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Comerica Bank’s Texas Index Improves

December 5, 2017
By Robert A. Dye, Ph.D., Daniel Sanabria

Comerica Bank’s Texas Economic Activity Index grew 0.3 percent in September to a level of 128.9. September’s index reading is 33 points, or 35 percent, above the index cyclical low of 95.5. The index averaged 124.3 points for all of 2016, one and three-fifths points below the average for 2015. August’s index reading was revised up to 128.5.

The Comerica Bank Texas Economic Activity Index improved in September even as South Texas Gulf Coast
recovered from the flooding associated with Hurricane Harvey at the end of August through mid-September. The weather impact on employment did not occur until September as the August survey for state employment had been completed prior to the storm. September Texas nonfarm payrolls dipped by 5,000, which is slightly less than originally estimated. As expected, the Texas Index was mixed in September. Only two out of nine sub-indexes were positive, including house prices and hotel occupancy. The six sub-indexes that were negative were unemployment insurance claims (inverted), housing starts, industrial electricity demand, the state rig count, total state trade and state sales tax revenue. The nonfarm payrolls subindex was unchanged. We expect nonfarm payrolls to boost the Texas index this fall and winter, as Texas added 71,500 payroll jobs in October. Half of the October gain came from recovering hotels and restaurants. Also, while the state drilling rig count has been a recent drag on our Texas Index, the count appears to be stabilizing in November with higher oil prices. A recovering energy industry and positive overall job growth sets up our expectations of moderate Texas economic growth heading into 2018. 

For a PDF version of this report click here: TX_Index_1117.

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