A new report has been issued by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University for the Texas economy, and results continue to look strong overall thanks in part to a strong United States economy and increasing energy prices. Issued in mid-March based on January data, the report stated that housing affordability, potential volatility in energy prices, and trade uncertainty would be potential headwinds going forward into 2018.
Texas’ labor market continued to tighten, pushing the economy towards a full employment level, with Texas adding 16,000 jobs. Austin had the largest proportional increase in jobs at 0.5 percent. Unemployment was four percent across the state and even lower in many metropolitan areas.
Austin led the state in the metropolitan business cycle index, a measure of current economic activity, at eight percent. Houston, fueled by rebuilding efforts, measured 5.7 percent, Dallas measured 4.2 percent, and San Antonio measured 3.7 percent. Consumer confidence for the state jumped 13.3 percent.
Housing sales were restrained to one percent growth, due to a shortage of homes priced under $300,000, according to the report.
The report credited the “bomb-cyclone” storm for jolting a demand for utilities, although the same system curtailed service sector activity.
Crude oil increased to $63.70, the highest level since 2014, and active oil rigs rose 35.7 percent year over year. Texas accounted for 41 percent of the crude oil output of the United States and 87 percent of national crude oil exports.
The report was compiled by The Real Estate Center’s Luis Torres, Wesley Miller, and Bailey Cuadra.