Comptroller’s Weekly Economic Outlook
Updated December 6, 2013
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 10,635,700 in August 2008, a level that was surpassed in September 2011, and by October 2013 Texas added an additional 591,900 jobs. In the U.S. as a whole, only 85 percent of recession-hit jobs were recovered by November 2013.
Texas and the nation returned to economic growth in 2010 and 2011, respectively. In calendar 2012, Texas real gross domestic product grew by 3.2 percent, compared with 2.2 percent for the U.S.
- The U.S. added 203,000 nonfarm jobs in November 2013. The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.0 percent for November 2013. Between November 2012 and November 2013, U.S. total nonfarm employment increased 1.7 percent.
- Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 7,400 jobs during October 2013. Between October 2012 and October 2013, Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 267,400 jobs or 2.4 percent.
- The Texas unemployment rate was 6.2 percent for October 2013 down from 6.4 percent in October 2012.
- The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 82 consecutive months.
- A total of 7,166 building permits for single-family homes were issued in October 2013, 8.7 percent more than in October 2012. In the 12 months ending in October 2013, a total of 85,483 permits were issued, 16 percent more than in the previous year.
- There were 7,820 multi-family building permits issued in October 2013, 56.2 percent more than in October 2012. During the 12 months ending in October 2013, a total of 55,685 permits were issued, 11 percent more than in the previous year.
- In October 2013, there were 22,059 sales of existing single-family homes, a decrease of 3.1 percent from the previous month, but 9.4 percent more than in October 2012.
- The median sale price for an existing single-family home was $171,300 in October 2013, 9.5 percent higher than a year ago.
- The U.S. consumer confidence index was 70.4 in November 2013, down 2.8 percent from October 2013, and 1.5 percent lower than one year ago.
- The Texas region’s consumer confidence index was 90.8 in November 2013, up 1.9 percent from October 2013, but 7.2 percent lower than one year ago.
- Oil and natural gas production tax collections for the first three months of fiscal 2014 were 40 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 $97.38 on December 5, 2013.
- 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 $4.13 on December 5, 2013.
- Texas state sales tax receipts for October 2013 were 5.4 percent higher than for October 2012.
- Sales tax collections for fiscal 2013 were 7.2 percent higher than in fiscal 2012.
- Sales tax collections have increased for 43 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 September 2013 were up 11.9 percent from September 2012.
- The nationwide average core transaction price for a new car or truck during the first 15 days of September 2013 rose .94 percent to $32,730 from the first 15 days of September 2012.
- For the first 15 days of September 2013, total national new auto sales were 620,441 units, up 11.6 percent compared to first 15 days of September 2012.
- Nationally, leases accounted for 28.7 percent of all new vehicle sales for the first 15 days of September 2013, increasing from 28.0 percent for the first 15 days of September 2012.
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 »