Texas Economy Hits Plateau at Mid-Year
by: Andrew Schneider, July 19, 2013 12:07:00 am
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a net increase of fewer than 6,000 jobs in Texas in the month of June. That follows a gain of more than 20,000 jobs in May. The state’s unemployment rate registered 6.5% for the second month in a row.
The June employment numbers come on the heels of Comerica Bank’s index of Texas economic activity for May. Chief economist Robert Dye says the state’s economy is plateauing by virtually every measure.
“The rig count has relaxed a little bit, with natural gas prices easing well off their $12 [per thousand cubic feet] peaks a few years ago. Permits, we had a surge in building permits, residential permits, late last year, and we’ve sort of leveled off a little bit from that. Things like hotel occupancy really haven’t come up.”
Dye says the Texas economy is still generating momentum, but it’s facing headwinds from a combination of higher taxes, reduced government spending, and slower economic growth abroad.