Comptroller’s Weekly Economic Outlook
Updated November 24, 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 October 2014 Texas added an additional 1,070,300 jobs. The U.S. recovered all recession-hit jobs by May 2014 and by October 2014 added an additional 1,315,000 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 214,000 nonfarm jobs in October 2014 and the unemployment rate was 5.8 percent. Between October 2013 and October 2014, U.S. total nonfarm employment increased 1.4 percent.
- Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 35,200 jobs during October 2014. Between October 2013 and October 2014, Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 421,900 jobs or 3.7 percent.
- The Texas unemployment rate was 5.1 percent for October 2014, down from 6.2 percent in October 2013.
- The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 94 consecutive months.
- A total of 7,712 building permits for single-family homes were issued in September 2014, 17.9 percent more than in September 2013. In the 12 months ending in September 2014, a total of 92,200 permits were issued, 8.6 percent more than in the previous year.
- There were 5,440 multi-family building permits issued in September 2014, 6.2 percent less than in September 2013. During the 12 months ending in September 2014, a total of 64,301 permits were issued, 25.5 percent more than in the previous year.
- In September 2014, there were 24,702 sales of existing single-family homes, 7.3 percent more than in September 2013.
- The U.S. consumer confidence index was 94.5 in October 2014, up 6.2 percent from September 2014, and 31.3 percent higher than one year ago.
- The Texas region's consumer confidence index was 128 in October 2014, up 5.1 percent from September 2014, and 33.1 percent higher than one year ago.
- Oil and natural gas production tax collections for the two months of fiscal 2015 were 8.4 percent higher than during the same period in 2014.
- NYMEX Crude oil futures reached a settle price of $75.58 on November 20, 2014. The average crude oil futures settle price was $84.34 for October 2014, 16.1 percent lower than in October 2013.
- NYMEX Natural gas futures reached a settle price of $4.489 on November 20, 2014. The average natural gas settle price was $3.80 for October 2014, 4.0 percent higher than in October 2013.
- Texas state sales tax receipts for October 2014 were 12.9 percent higher than for October 2013.
- Sales tax collections in fiscal 2014 through October were 7.2 percent above collections for the same period in fiscal 2013.
- Sales tax collections have increased for 55 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 October 2014 were up 9.2 percent from October 2013.
- The nationwide average core transaction price for a new car or truck during the first 15 days of October 2014 fell 1.2 percent to $32,528 from the first 15 days of October 2013.
- For the first 15 days of October 2014, total national new auto sales were 687,398 units, up 8.0 percent compared to the first 15 days of October 2013.
- Nationally, leases accounted for 29.7 percent of all new vehicle sales for the first 15 days of October 2014, increasing from 29.5 percent for the first 15 days of October 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 »