Comerica Bank’s Texas Economic Activity Index was unchanged in August to 135.8. August’s index reading is 40 points, or 42 percent, above the index cyclical low of 95.5. The index averaged 128.5 points for all of 2017, 3.9 points above the average for 2016. July’s index reading was revised to 135.8.
The Comerica Bank Texas Economic Activity Index was unchanged in August. Revised data now show a small decline in the index level in July. Over the 12 months ending in August, the Texas Index is still up by 5.9 percent, consistent with very strong state-level GDP growth for Texas over the last year. The components of the Texas Index were mixed in August. The four positive components for the month were nonfarm employment, unemployment insurance claims (inverted), housing starts and total state trade. The four negative components were house prices, industrial electricity demand, the Texas rig count and hotel occupancy. The sales tax revenue sub-index was unchanged in August. The Texas economy grew strongly through the first half of 2018. Now it looks like growth is still very good, but easing. This is consistent with the cooling seen in our Michigan and California Indexes and is consistent with the pattern of U.S. GDP growth this year. Crude oil prices have declined to about $66 per barrel at the end of October, from above $76 per barrel early in the month. We look for cooler global oil demand growth in 2019 as economic growth in the U.S., Europe and China eases. Even so, we expect oil-related investment in West Texas to continue, including infrastructure and transportation-related projects.
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