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Texas Economic Outlook

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The Texas Economic Outlook...
Foreclosures declined in August from July totals plus oil and gas rig count is highest since April. Existing single family home sales from June through August exceeded the first three months of 2009 by 56 percent. Texas' auto sales net value from June through August gained more than five percent over the average from the first three months of this year.
By SHEILAH PEPPER, The Gazette Staff

According to the state comptroller's office, the Texas economy, the world's 11th largest, continues to fare better than those of many other states. However, the Lone Star State is not exempt from the effects of the world wide recession. The unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percent last month, to 8 percent. The national number is 9.7 percent.
But the state has some major bright spots. The foreclosure rate fell last month and, overall, Texas real estate has not suffered the losses experienced in some other regions of the nation, due in part to regulations that prevented lenders and borrowers from participating in the sub-prime lending market.
Additionally, Texas benefits from energy resources and the count of oil and gas rigs reached its highest level last month since April.
The comptroller's office states that, 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 (2.0 percent versus 1.1 percent) during calendar 2008. So, overall, Texas is good place to be living and working right now.
Here are the latest numbers from the comptroller's office.
· Texas lost 62,200 jobs in August 2009, after gaining 27,600 jobs in July.
· Texas' August unemployment rate was 8.0 percent, up from 7.9 percent in July. The August U.S. rate was 9.7 percent, up from 9,4 percent in July.
· The U.S. lost 5.8 million jobs from August 2008 to August 2009.
· The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 32 consecutive months.
· In the 12 months ending in August 2009, Texas lost 296,300 jobs.
· 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 to the national real estate crunch.
· 6,915 building permits for single-family homes were issued in July 2099, reflecting a 5.9 percent drop from July 2008. The number of permits in the 12 months ending in July 2009 was 60,293, a decrease of 33 percent from the period one year earlier.
· Multi-family building permits are also down, from 4,712 units in July 2008 to 554 units (the lowest monthly total this decade) in July 2009. The number of permits issued in the 12 months ending in July 2009 was 28,464, a decrease of 49 percent from the period one year earlier.
· Sales of existing single-family home in Texas have been declining since late 2006. While those sales were down by 5 percent from July 2008 to July 2009, that was the smallest annual decline since mid-2007.
· In Texas, the median price for existing single-family homes rose by 0.5 percent from July 2008 to July 2009.
· The Texas foreclosure rate has remained largely stable for the past three years. Texas experienced 11,261 foreclosure fillings in August 2009.
· In August 2009, the Texas foreclosure rate was one in every 838 mortgages. This was substantially better than Nevada's one in 62, California's one in 144 and Florida's one in 140.
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.
Oil and Natural Gas
· The all-time high crude oil closing price was$145.29 on July 3, 2008.
· Crude oil futures closed at $72.47 per barrel on September 17, 2009, 25 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 fiscal 2009 were down 48 percent over fiscal 2008; oil tax collections were 39 percent lower.
· Texas sales tax receipts for August 2009 were down 12.5 percent from August 2008.
· For fiscal 2009, state sales tax receipts are down 2.7 percent from fiscal 2008.
· Texas motor vehicle 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 transaction 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.
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.
Cap and Trade
· Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could negatively impact the Texas economy. The state could see 173,000 to 425,000 fewer jobs than expected in 2030 as a result of increased energy prices from the cap and trade portion of the recently approved bill. The resulting decline in gross state product is estimated to be between $25 billion and $58 billion.
· The comptroller's office is continuing to analyze potential implications and assess how green jobs and energy efficiency programs in the proposals could offset negative impacts. For the latest visit the cap and trade web page on the comptroller's web site.


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