Comerica Bank’s Texas Economic Activity Index grew 1.9 percent in November to a level of 132.2. November’s index reading is 37 points, or 38 percent, above the index cyclical low of 95.5. The index averaged 124.7 points for all of 2016, one and one-fifth points below the average for 2015. October’s index reading was 129.7.
The Comerica Bank Texas Economic Activity Index increased again in November. The index is now up for the third consecutive month following the dip in economic activity in August. Six of the nine indicators were positive in November, including nonfarm payrolls, housing starts, house prices, state total trade, hotel occupancy and state sales tax revenues. The three negative indicators were un-employment insurance claims (inverted), industrial electricity demand and the drilling rig count. The Texas economy is experiencing a moderate economic expansion sup-ported by the post-hurricane recovery efforts and improving energy sector. Texas nonfarm payrolls rebounded in Q4 as Houston recouped hurricane-related job losses from Q3. The state added a net 25,600 jobs per month in 2017, well above the 16,150 pace in 2016. The Texas energy sec-tor shifted from a drag on the state’s economy in 2015 and 2016, to a positive in 2017. WTI crude oil prices are now near $65 per barrel, making well completion and new drilling more profitable. U.S. crude oil production hit a milestone this week, reaching 10 million barrels per day. This is the first time that U.S. production has been this high since 1970. Higher oil prices boosted job creation in the Texas energy sector in 2017, posting its first annual gain since 2014. Texas trade is also benefitting from the increased production as oil and petroleum-based products are the leading exports and imports for the state.
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