Comptroller’s Weekly Economic Outlook
Updated April 15, 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 February 2015 Texas added an additional 1,129,800 jobs. The U.S. recovered all recession-hit jobs by May 2014 and by February 2015 added an additional 2,761,000 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 295,000 nonfarm jobs in February 2015 and the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. Between February 2015 and February 2015, U.S. total nonfarm employment increased 2.4 percent.
- Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 7,100 jobs during February 2015. Between February 2014 and February 2015, Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 357,300 jobs or 3.13 percent.
- The Texas unemployment rate was 4.3 percent for February 2015, down from 5.7 percent in February 2014.
- The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 98 consecutive months .
- A total of 7,731 building permits for single-family homes were issued in February 2015, 7.9 percent more than in February 2014. In the 12 months ending in February 2015, a total of 96,568 permits were issued, 10.6 percent more than in the previous year .
- There were 5,938 multi-family building permits issued in February 2015, 33.7 percent more than in February 2014. During the 12 months ending in February 2015, a total of 64,651 permits were issued, 17 percent more than in the previous year .
- In January 2015, there were 17,986 sales of existing single-family homes, 0.6% percent more than in February 2014.
- The U.S. consumer confidence index was 101.3 in March 2015 , up 2.5 percent from February 2015, and 20.8 percent higher than one year ago.
- The Texas region's consumer confidence index was 126.2 in March 2015 , up 4 percent from February 2015, and 16.1 percent higher than one year ago.
- Oil and natural gas production tax collections for the seven months of fiscal 2015 were 12.3 percent lower than during the same period in 2014.
- NYMEX Crude oil futures reached a settle price of $53.29 on April 14, 2015. The average crude oil futures settle price was $47.85 for March 2015.
- NYMEX Natural gas futures reached a settle price of $2.53 on April 14, 2015. The average natural gas settle price was $2.75 for March 2015.
- Texas state sales tax receipts for March 2015 were 1.5 percent higher than for March 2014.
- Sales tax collections in fiscal 2015 through March were 8.3 percent above collections for the same period in fiscal 2014.
- Sales tax collections have increased for 60 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 2.9percent 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.