Austin Economy, in Perspective

Occassionally, we come across an article that we feel we should simply share without further comment or revision. While we generally like to provide our own summary and perspective on the items that we post, sometimes it is best left the way that we found it. Here is one of those examples from the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Central Texas Economy In Perspective
By Beverly Kerr, Chamber Vice President of Research
After faltering into negative percent change for a couple of months, Texas’ Index of Leading Indicators registered an uptick in July. The performance of the Index in May and June had been pointed to by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas as indicating a growth slowdown on the horizon for Texas. Based on the Index data through June, they forecast Texas would see employment growth of 2.5% to 3.0% in 2010, slightly below the previous forecast. Analysis from the Dallas Fed in light of the latest update to the Leading Index is yet to be produced, but the 0.8% gain in July is roughly equivalent to the average monthly gain seen since the Index resumed growth early last year.

 While the Leading Index sheds light on the future of the state’s economy, a coincident index, the Business Cycle Index, gauges the current state of the Texas economy. Changes in the Index tend to coincide with changes in overall economic activity. Comparable Metro Business Cycle Indexes also provide perspective on how Austin and the other regional economies are tracking in the recovery as well.

The Texas Business Cycle Index, which tracks movements in employment, unemployment and gross state product, shows that economic activity has been expanding since January. The Metro Business Cycle Index, which tracks movements in employment, unemployment, wages and retail sales, shows that Austin’s economy moved into recovery a month later. However, the index for Austin has sustained growth at an increasing rate each month, while the state’s index has stagnated at roughly the same rate of growth for the last four months.

Texas and its major metros, except for San Antonio, have been indicating economic growth since January or February. Texas, Austin, and Houston have seen roughly 2% growth in the Index over the first seven months of 2010 while Dallas and Fort Worth have seen gains of about 1%. San Antonio continued to see negative growth for several months longer and July is its first instance of an increase in the Index since April 2008.


Texas Economic Indicators comes out the first Wednesday of the month, but a more decisive statement from the Dallas Fed about the course of recovery in Texas might be more likely to come in the next Regional Economic Update, which has an irregular publication schedule.


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