Texas Economy Booms: +238,700 Jobs in Last Year
Fort Worth (TX) Star Telegram -- From Main Street to Wall Street, the economic news gets more depressing every day, but things could be worse: You could be living outside of Texas.
Last week, the government reported that the U.S. economy lost 62,000 jobs in June, the sixth consecutive monthly decline. Texas, meanwhile, keeps purring along (see chart above). The economy is slowing, to be sure, and corporate layoffs are rising, but the state remains in positive territory by most measures. Even construction employment, down 5.2% nationwide in the past year, was up 3.6% here.
Credit three factors for Texas’ (relatively) good fortune:
1. The housing market has held up better than in much of the country, and as a result, consumer confidence hasn’t crashed to the same depths. That’s one explanation for why retail sales rose 5.6% in Texas in the past year, at least three times higher than nationwide.
2. The energy industry is booming, riding the wave of sky-high oil and gas prices. That’s producing scores of new jobs in Texas and abroad, and bonus checks for landowners. The Texas rig count reached 931 in June, the highest level since 1984.
3. Texas exports are on a tear, helped by the falling dollar and strong demand for chemicals. The currency drop has helped boost exports nationwide, but Texas exports grew 7.2% in April, compared with a 3.3% increase for the nation.