Comptroller’s Weekly Economic Outlook
Updated February 27, 2015
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 November 2014 Texas added an additional 1,101,100 jobs. The U.S. recovered all recession-hit jobs by May 2014 and by November 2014 added an additional 1,680,000 jobs.
Texas and the nation returned to economic growth in 2010, 2011, and 2012. In calendar 2013, Texas real gross domestic product grew by 3.7 percent, compared with 1.8 percent for the U.S.
- The U.S. added 257,000 nonfarm jobs in January 2015 and the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent. Between January 2015 and January 2015, U.S. total nonfarm employment increased 2.3 percent.
- Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 41,100 jobs during December 2014. BetweenDecember 2013 and December 2014, Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 457,900 jobs or 3.886 percent.
- The Texas unemployment rate was 4.6 percent for December 2014, down from 6.0 percent inDecember 2013.
- The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 96 consecutive months.
- A total of 7,469 building permits for single-family homes were issued in December 2014, 29.3 percent more than in December 2013. In the 12 months ending in December 2014, a total of 95,201 permits were issued, 10.2 percent more than in the previous year.
- There were 7,598 multi-family building permits issued in December 2014, 23.7 percent more than in December 2013. During the 12 months ending in December 2014, a total of 63,695 permits were issued, 17.4 percent more than in the previous year.
- In January 2015, there were 15,757 sales of existing single-family homes, 12.2 percent more than in January 2014.
- The U.S. consumer confidence index was 96.4 in February 2015, down 7.1 percent from January 2015, and 23.1 percent higher than one year ago.
- The Texas region's consumer confidence index was 117.0 in February 2015, up 0.3 percent from January 2015, and 4.7 percent higher than one year ago.
- Oil and natural gas production tax collections for the five months of fiscal 2015 were 0.2 percent lower than during the same period in 2014.
- NYMEX Crude oil futures reached a settle price of $ 48.17on February 26, 2015. The average crude oil futures settle price was $47.33 for January 2015, 50.1 percent lower than in January 2014.
- NYMEX Natural gas futures reached a settle price of $ 2.697on February 26, 2015. The average natural gas settle price was $2.93 for January 2015, 35.7 percent lower than in January 2014.
- Texas state sales tax receipts for January 2014 were 11.2 percent higher than for January 2013.
- Sales tax collections in fiscal 2015 through January were 11.2 percent above collections for the same period in fiscal 2014.
- Sales tax collections have increased for 58 consecutive months (year-over-year), with improvement apparent across all major economic sectors. Business spending, particularly that associated with oil and natural gas mining, has contributed more so than consumer spending sales tax growth.
- Texas motor vehicle sales and rental tax collections for January 2015 were up 15.9 percent from January 2014.
- The nationwide average core transaction price for a new car or truck during the first 15 days of January 2015 fell 0.6 percent to $32,593 from the first 15 days of January 2014.
- For the first 15 days of January 2015, total national new auto sales were 671,509 units, up 2.9 percent compared to the first 15 days of January 2014.
- Nationally, leases accounted for 30.5 percent of all new vehicle sales for the first 15 days of January 2015, increasing from 30.1 percent for the first 15 days of January 2014.