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Texas Economy Remains Strong in 2024

published on May 15, 2024

Despite headwinds from high interest rates and inflation, the Texas economy showed positive signs during the first quarter of 2024, according to the Texas Real Estate Research Center. Employment was a big winner, with 49,800 nonfarm workers added in February.

Austin had the biggest increase, adding 11,400 new jobs, a 0.8 percent month over month increase. Dallas added 7,800 jobs (0.2 percent), while Houston added 6,900 jobs (0.2 percent). Statewide, the categories of professional and business services and education and health services were the big winners. Unemployment remained steady at 3.9 percent, and the participation rate remained high at 64.1 percent.

Home sales in Texas were up 3.6 percent month over month. San Antonio-New Braunfels had the biggest jump with an 11.8 percent increase. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington had an 8.7 percent increase, while Austin tied the state at 3.6 percent and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland only saw a 0.3 percent increase following a large increase the previous month. All of this was despite the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s 30-year fixed-rate increasing.

Inflation rose 0.4 percent month over month and increased 3.2 percent from the previous February. Shelter and gasoline made up 60 percent of the monthly increase, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Texas consumer confidence had been rising since September 2023, but it decreased 5.2 percent in February. Trade levels for Texas also fell, but the Texas Leading Economic Index signaled “steady economic growth in the upcoming months.”

The West Texas Intermediate crude oil spot price increased 0.6 percent YOY from $76.83 to $77.25, while the Henry Hub natural gas spot price “plummeted 27.7 percent YOY from $2.38 to $1.72 per million British thermal units (BTU).”

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