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Texas Economic Outlook

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Update on the Texas Economy-an outlook
By SHEILAH PEPPER
The Gazette Staff
Governor Perry has said that about 1,000 people a day are moving to Texas. There is no state income tax, property taxes have been reduced two years in a row, the state government is fiscally conservative and business-friendly, housing prices are generally stable, and employment opportunities are fairly strong in many areas, plus the state has a $9.3 billion "Rainy Day" fund.
Newcomers will put some stress on the infrastructure and the governor says he will continue to press for expanding the state's transportation network.
However, the state, even with oil revenues, is not immune to some of the effects of the nationwide recession. Having said that, while we are not seeing the hot numbers we had last year, we are still better off than the rest the nation and are one of a tiny handful of states showing a surplus.
Here's the latest outlook from the Office of the Texas State Comptroller:
"The Texas economy, the world's 12th largest, continues to fare better than those of many other states. But Texas is feeling the effects of the worldwide recession.
According to the National Bureau of Economic research, the U.S. economy peaked in December 2007 and has been in recession since then. Although the Texas economy slowed with the nation's late in 2008, Texas' gross product expanded almost twice as fast as the U.S. economy (2.1 percent versus 1.1 percent) during calendar 2008.
Both the U.S. and Texas economies have contracted in 2009, but Texas continues to perform relatively better than the nation. The Comptroller's office estimates that the Texas gross state product will contract by 1.7 percent during calendar 2009. The U.S. economy will shrink even more, by 2.8 percent for the year.
Jobs:
· The U.S. lost 5.7 million jobs from July 2008 to July 2009.
· Texas lost 41,000 jobs in June 2009
· Texas' June 2009 unemployment rate is 7.5 percent, up from 7.1 in May. The July U.S. rate is 9.4 percent, down from 9.5 percent in June.
· The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 30 consecutive months.
· In the 12 months ending in June 2009, Texas lost 266,000 jobs.
Housing:
· Thus far, Texas has weathered the national real estate crunch without significant damage to property values but sales and construction activity have slowed. Despite its continuing resiliency, Texas is not immune from the national real estate crunch.
· 6.676 building permits for single-family homes were issued in June 2009 reflecting a 12.4 percent drop over June 2008. The number of permits issued in the 12 months since June 2008 is 60,.625, a decrease of 34 percent from the period one year earlier.
· Multi-family building permits are also down, falling by 54 percent from June 2008 to June 2009. The numbers of permits issued in the 12 months since June 2008 is 32,442, a decrease of 43 percent from the period one year earlier.
· Sales of existing homes are lower than recent years. Texas sales fell by 11 percent from June 2008 to June 2009. The January to June increase this year, at 103 percent, is greater than during the previous January to June periods.
· In Texas, prices for existing single family homes rose by 0.2 percent from June 2008 to June 2009.
· The Texas foreclosure rate has remained largely stable for the last three years. Texas experienced 12,023 foreclosure filings in June 2009.
· As of June 2009, the Texas foreclosure rate was one in every 785 mortgages. This is substantially better than Nevada's one in 59m California's one in 132, and Florida's one in 165.
Oil and Natural Gas
· The all-time high crude oil closing price was $145.29 on July 3, 2008.
· Crude oil futures closed at $71.94 per barrel on August 6, 2009, 39 percent below the level of one year ago, but more than double this past winter's lowest price of $33.98 in February.
· In fiscal 2008, production tax collections for natural gas were up 42 percent over fiscal 2007. Tax collections for oil were up 72 percent.
· Natural gas production tax collections for the first ten months of fiscal 2009 are 36 percent lower than in the same 10 months in fiscal 2008; oil tax collections are 34 percent lower.
Taxes
· Texas sales tax receipts for July 2009 were down11.6 percent from July 2008.
· Thus far, state sales tax receipts for fiscal 2009 are down 1.7 percent from the same point in fiscal 2008.
· Texas motor vehicle sales tax collections for this month through August 5 are at $37, 161 million, down 15.2 percent for the same time last year.
· Mean average transportation prices for new cars declined by 7.2 percent from July 2008 to June 2009, to $23,695.
· Nationally, auto leasing accounted for 21 percent of auto sales in July 2009, down from 24 percent in July 2008.
· Congress has authorized an additional $2 billion for the "Cash for Clunkers" rebate to extend the program through Labor Day, which should fund an additional 500,000 new auto sales on top of the 250,000 already completed.
Stimulus Package
· In Texas, an estimated $18 billion in federal stimulus money is flowing to state and local governments. The Comptroller's Office is tracking the $14.3 billion that comes through the state treasury. The Comptroller's analysis is ongoing. For the latest information, visit the ARRA web site, A Texas Eye on the Dollars.
Consumer Confidence Index
* Consumer confidence across the nation remains very weak. In July 2009, the U.S. Index stood at 46.6 (with 1985 = 100). Texas and surrounding states fared better than the rest of the nation. Texas' regional index fell to 73.3, down 8 percent for the year.
 

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