Comptroller’s Weekly Economic Outlook
Updated January 23, 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 252,000 nonfarm jobs in December 2014 and the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent. Between December 2013 and December 2014, U.S. total nonfarm employment increased 2.1 percent.
- Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 41,100 jobs during December 2014. Between December 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 in December 2013.
- The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 96 consecutive months.
- A total of 6,190 building permits for single-family homes were issued in November 2014, 4.9 percent more than in November 2013. In the 12 months ending in November 2014, a total of 93,346 permits were issued, 8.9 percent more than in the previous year.
- There were 3,861 multi-family building permits issued in November 2014, 1.8 percent more than in November 2013. During the 12 months ending in November 2014, a total of 61,791 permits were issued, 15 percent more than in the previous year.
- In November 2014, there were 19,205 sales of existing single-family homes, 1.9 percent more than in November 2013.
- The U.S. consumer confidence index was 92.6 in December 2014, up 1.8 percent from November 2014, and 16.6 percent higher than one year ago.
- The Texas region's consumer confidence index was 120.5 in December 2014, up 9.5 percent from November 2014, and 0.6 percent higher than one year ago.
- Oil and natural gas production tax collections for the four months of fiscal 2015 were 4.7 percent higher than during the same period in 2014.
- NYMEX Crude oil futures reached a settle price of $46.31 on January 22, 2015. The average crude oil futures settle price was $59.29 for December 2014, 39.4 percent lower than in December 2013.
- NYMEX Natural gas futures reached a settle price of $2.835 on January 22, 2015. The average natural gas settle price was $3.51 for December 2014, 18.0 percent lower than in December 2013.
- Texas state sales tax receipts for December 2014 were 4.3 percent higher than for December 2013.
- Sales tax collections in fiscal 2014 through December were 7.3 percent above collections for the same period in fiscal 2013.
- Sales tax collections have increased for 57 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.