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Comerica Bank’s Texas Economic Activity Index increased by 0.4 percent in January to 136.2....



Comerica Bank’s Texas Index Improves

March 29, 2019
By Robert A. Dye, Ph. D., Daniel Sanabria

Comerica Bank’s Texas Economic Activity Index increased by 0.4 percent in January to 136.2. January’s index reading is 41 points, or 43 percent, above the index cyclical low of 95.5. The index averaged 134.5 points for all of 2018, 5.7 points above the average for 2017. December’s  index reading was revised to 135.7.

The Comerica Bank Texas Economic Activity Index got back on track in January, increasing by 0.4 percent, after easing by 0.1 percent in December. The January 2019 index is 2.3 percent above its reading from a year ago, consistent with ongoing real state gross domestic product growth over 2018. In January, five out of nine index components were positive. They were nonfarm employment, housing starts, house prices, hotel occupancy and state sales tax revenues. The negatives for January were initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted), industrial electricity demand, rig count and total state trade. It looks like the Texas economy cooled from strong growth through the first half of 2018, to moderate growth through the second half of the year. This is consistent with the pattern of crude oil prices, which increased to a peak of near $74 per barrel by early October, and then dropped sharply to about $46 per barrel by year-end. Drilling and production companies scaled back their activities through the end of 2018, and planned for reduced growth in capital spending in 2019 as a result of the reset in crude oil prices. With oil prices back up to near $60 per barrel, energy companies are more profitable but have remained cautious about ramping up capital spending. We expect cooler global and U.S. economic conditions in 2019 to keep Texas economic growth positive, but moderate this year.



For a PDF version of this report, click here: Comerica Bank Texas Economic Activity Index 0319.

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