Comptroller’s Weekly Economic Outlook
Updated April 11, 2014
Job growth, sales tax collections and building permits all signal that the Texas economy continues to outpace the national economy.
Over the past year, Texas added jobs in all of the 11 major industries, including professional and business services, trade, transportation and utilities, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, construction, mining and logging, government, financial activities, information, other services, and manufacturing.
Pre-recession Texas employment peaked at 10,638,100 in August 2008, a level that was surpassed in November 2011, and by February 2014 Texas added an additional 767,900 jobs. In the U.S. as a whole, only 95 percent of recession-hit jobs were recovered by March 2014.
Texas and the nation returned to economic growth in 2010 and 2011, respectively. In calendar 2012, Texas real gross domestic product grew by 4.8 percent, compared with 2.5 percent for the U.S.
- The U.S. added 192,000 nonfarm jobs in March 2014. The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.7 percent for March 2014. Between March 2013 and March 2014, U.S. total nonfarm employment increased 1.7 percent.
- Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 37,600 jobs during February 2014. Between February 2013 and February 2014, Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 314,200 jobs or 2.8 percent.
- The Texas unemployment rate was 5.7 percent for February 2014 down from 6.5 percent in February 2013.
- The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 86 consecutive months.
- A total of 7,162 building permits for single-family homes were issued in February 2014, 7.9 percent more than in February 2013. In the 12 months ending in February 2014, a total of 87,519 permits were issued, 13 percent more than in the previous year.
- There were 4,517 multi-family building permits issued in February 2014, 4.9 percent less than in February 2013. During the 12 months ending in February 2014, a total of 57,009 permits were issued, 8 percent more than in the previous year.
- In February 2014, there were 17,779 sales of existing single-family homes, 5.4 percent more than in February 2013.
- The median sale price for an existing single-family home was $174,000 in February 2014, 10.7 percent higher than a year ago.
- The U.S. consumer confidence index was 82.3 in March 2014, up 5.1 percent from February 2014, and 33.0 percent higher than one year ago.
- The Texas region's consumer confidence index was 109.2 in March 2014, down 2.8 percent from February 2014, but 21.2 percent higher than one year ago.
- Oil and natural gas production tax collections for the first seven months of fiscal 2014 were 29 percent higher than during the same period in 2013.
- After reaching a record high closing price of $145.29 per barrel in July 2008 then falling to a low of $33.98 during February 2009, crude oil futures reached a settle price of $103.40 on April 10, 2014.
- After reaching a record high closing price of $13.58 per MMBtu in July 2008 then falling to a low of $2.51 during September 2009, natural gas futures reached a settle price of $4.66 on April 10, 2014.
- Texas state sales tax receipts for February 2014 were 5.8 percent higher than for February 2013.
- Sales tax collections for fiscal 2013 were 7.2 percent higher than in fiscal 2012.
- Sales tax collections have increased for 47 consecutive months (year-over-year), boosted by strong business spending in the oil/natural gas and manufacturing sectors, and to a lesser extent by retail sales activity.
- Texas motor vehicle sales and rental tax collections for November 2013 were up 9.7 percent from November 2012.
- The nationwide average core transaction price for a new car or truck during the first 15 days of January 2014 rose 2.24 percent to $32,884 from the first 15 days of January 2013.
- For the first 15 days of January 2014, total national new auto sales were 531,183 units, up 3.0 percent compared to first 15 days of January 2013.
- Nationally, leases accounted for 30.0 percent of all new vehicle sales for the first 15 days of January 2014, increasing from 26.5 percent for the first 15 days of January 2013.
A Deeper Dive: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by State
Gross domestic product by state, formerly referred to as gross state product (GSP), is a broad measure of a state’s production. The “value added” that is generated by the state’s GDP represents the difference between the state’s industries gross output (e.g., industry sales and other operating income, commodity taxes, and inventory changes) and the value of the intermediate inputs (purchase of goods and services from other industries) used in producing the industries’ products.
Economic production and growth are represented by real GSP, so it can be seen as a primary indicator to gauge the health of the state economy. The term “real” refers to GSP and GDP values being indexed to a certain year (2005) to accurately reflect the rate of change. Failure to do so would lead to inflated growth rates. From 2001 to 2010, U.S. real GDP grew by 16.8 percent while Texas’ real GSP grew by 23.5 percent for the same period. More about GDP »