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Texas Economy Still Outpaces Nation

published on September 26, 2023

Despite national economic headwinds, the Texas economy continued to show positive signs, with payroll reaching new heights, expanding 3.3 percent year over year, according to the latest Outlook for the Texas Economy from the Texas Real Estate Research Center.

Texas had a high workforce participation rate of 64.2 percent, and unemployment remained steady at 4.1 percent. “Over the course of a year, Texas attracted 441,700 new workers, resulting in a 33-month trend of a record-high total labor force,” said a report from the Center.

Average hourly earnings increased 2.2 percent month over month, reaching $31.74. The average hourly earnings in Dallas and Houston topped $34, the first time Houston has crossed this threshold. And consumer confidence reached its highest level since February 2020, based on short-term business conditions and the overall labor market outlook.

Home sales in Texas were down overall due to higher interest rates and a tight supply. However, the percentage of new construction homes as a proportion of sales grew from 15.2 percent to over 20 percent. This means about one of every five homes sold was new construction. The report cited supply and demand as reasons for the trend for new construction homes. Many builders also were offering interest rate discounts that helped buyers offset the increased costs of purchasing a home. “The shortage of existing homes is due to current owners’ reluctance to give up their current homes,” said the report.

Texas exports fell slightly, with petroleum/coal and chemicals falling 0.2 percent and 0.5 percent month over month, respectively. Computer/electronic products were flat, while beverage/tobacco had a 50 percent increase. Crude oil exports also were down 5.42 percent year over year.

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