Comerica Bank’s Texas Economic Activity Index decreased by 0.1 percent in December to 136.5. December’s index reading is 41 points, or 43 percent, above the index cyclical low of 95.5. The index averaged 134.9 points for all of 2018, 6.1 points above the average for 2017. November’s index reading was revised to 136.7.
The Comerica Bank Texas Economic Activity Index decreased slightly in December, down 0.1 percent. This ended a three-month winning streak for the Texas Index. The partial federal government shutdown over December and January is still impacting the economic data stream, so we may see larger-than-normal historical revisions in the next few months as data quality improves. In December, six out of nine index components were positive, including payroll employment, housing starts, house prices, industrial electricity demand, rig count and hotel occupancy. Only three components were negatives for December. They were unemployment insurance claims (inverted), total state trade and sales tax revenues. The volatility in the unemployment insurance claims dominated the other positive factors. We expect volatility to diminish in the months ahead, allowing the Texas index to resume its positive overall track. Crude oil prices have firmed up significantly since they fell to about $43 in late December. With WTI currently near $55 per barrel, we expect energy-related infrastructure development to continue to be a positive for the Texas economy through the first half of 2019. The large number of drilled but uncompleted wells in Texas represents excess capacity for Texas oil production. Because of the excess capacity, the overall rig count may remain flat to down in the near-term even with firmer oil prices.
For a PDF version of this report, click here: Comerica Bank’s Texas Index Dips