Comptroller’s Weekly Economic Outlook
Updated August 26, 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 July 2014 Texas added an additional 892,800 jobs. The U.S. recovered all recession-hit jobs by May 2014 and by July 2014 added an additional 639,000 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 209,000 nonfarm jobs in July 2014. The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.2 percent for July 2014. Between July 2013 and July 2014, U.S. total nonfarm employment increased 1.9 percent.
- Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 42,700 jobs during July 2014. Between July 2013 and July 2014, Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 361,200 jobs or 3.2 percent.
- The Texas unemployment rate was 5.1 percent for July 2014 down from 6.4 percent in July 2013.
- The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 91 consecutive months.
- A total of 8,732 building permits for single-family homes were issued in June 2014, 13.1 percent more than in June 2013. In the 12 months ending in June 2014, a total of 89,827 permits were issued, 9 percent more than in the previous year.
- There were 3,541 multi-family building permits issued in June 2014, 7.8 percent more than in June 2013. During the 12 months ending in June 2014, a total of 64,594 permits were issued, 19 percent more than in the previous year.
- In June 2014, there were 29,408 sales of existing single-family homes, 8.46 percent more than in June 2013.
- The median sale price for an existing single-family home was $191,500 in June 2014, 6.7 percent higher than a year ago.
- The U.S. consumer confidence index was 92.4 in August 2014, up 1.7 percent from July 2014, and 15.2 percent higher than one year ago.
- The Texas region's consumer confidence index was 98.5 in August 2014, down 7.6 percent from July 2014, and 9.1 percent higher than one year ago.
- Oil and natural gas production tax collections for the first eleven months of fiscal 2014 were 28.8 percent higher than during the same period in 2013.
- Crude oil futures reached a settle price of $93.65 on August 22, 2014. The NYMEX average crude oil futures settle price was $102.39 for July 2014, 2.2 percent lower than in July 2013.
- Natural gas futures reached a settle price of $3.84 on August 22, 2014. The NYMEX average natural gas settle price was $4.02 for July 2014, 10.5 percent higher than in July 2013.
- Texas state sales tax receipts for July 2014 were 6.3 percent higher than for July 2013.
- Sales tax collections in fiscal 2014 through July were 5.3 percent above collections for the same period in fiscal 2013.
- Sales tax collections have increased for 52 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 May 2014 were up 9.6 percent from May 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 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 »