Comptroller’s Weekly Economic Outlook
Updated October 27, 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 September 2014 Texas added an additional 1,021,500 jobs. The U.S. recovered all recession-hit jobs by May 2014 and by September 2014 added an additional 903,000 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 248,000 nonfarm jobs in September 2014 and the unemployment rate was 5.9 percent. Between September 2013 and September 2014, U.S. total nonfarm employment increased 1.9 percent.
- Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 36,400 jobs during September 2014. Between September 2013 and September 2014, Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 413,700 jobs or 3.7 percent.
- The Texas unemployment rate was 5.2 percent for September 2014, down from 6.3 percent in September 2013.
- The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 93 consecutive months.
- A total of 8,138 building permits for single-family homes were issued in August 2014, 3.6 percent more than in August 2013. In the 12 months ending in August 2014, a total of 90,921 permits were issued, 7.8 percent more than in the previous year.
- There were 6,581 multi-family building permits issued in August 2014, 89.9 percent more than in August 2013. During the 12 months ending in August 2014, a total of 64,042 permits were issued, 16 percent more than in the previous year.
- In August 2014, there were 27,999 sales of existing single-family homes, 1.2 percent less than in August 2013.
- The U.S. consumer confidence index was 86 in September 2014, down 7.9 percent from August 2014, and 18.8 percent higher than one year ago.
- The Texas region's consumer confidence index was 103.5 in September 2014, down 6.8 percent from August 2014, and 0.4 percent higher than one year ago.
- Oil and natural gas production tax collections for the first month of fiscal 2015 were 13.7 percent higher than during the same period in fiscal 2014.
- NYMEX crude oil futures reached a settle price of $82.90 on October 23, 2014. The average crude oil futures settle price was $93.03 for September 2014, 12.7 percent lower than in September 2013.
- NYMEX natural gas futures reached a settle price of $3.622 on October 23, 2014. The average natural gas settle price was $3.92 for September 2014, 8.3 percent higher than in September 2013.
- Texas state sales tax receipts for September 2014 were 7.9 percent higher than for September 2013.
- Sales tax collections in fiscal 2014 through September were 6.6 percent above collections for the same period in fiscal 2013.
- Sales tax collections have increased for 54 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 to sales tax growth.
- Texas motor vehicle sales and rental tax collections for June 2014 were up 10.2 percent from July 2013.
- The nationwide average core transaction price for a new car or truck during the first 15 days of August 2014 fell 0.8 percent to $32,404 from the first 15 days of August 2013.
- For the first 15 days of August 2014, total national new auto sales were 537,427 units, up 6.9 percent compared to the first 15 days of August 2013.
- Nationally, leases accounted for 29.3 percent of all new vehicle sales for the first 15 days of August 2014, increasing from 27.5 percent for the first 15 days of August 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 »