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Texas Economic Outlook

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Texas Economic Outlook
The following is the latest report on the Texas economy from the office of
the Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs
March single-family home sales increased more than 48 percent over February totals and more than 15 percent year-over-year.
Texas' oil and gas rig count for March rose more than eight percent from February's numbers, the highest rig count since January 2009.
According to the Texas comptroller's office, the Texas economy, the world's 12th largest, continues to fare better than those of many other states. But Texas felt the effects of the worldwide recession during 2009.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the U.S. Economy peaked in December 2007 and entered recession. The Texas economy continued to grow through most of 2008, with employment peaking in August that year, then Texas joined the nation in losing jobs. During 2009, Texas' gross state product (GSP) declined more slowly than the U.S. economy (-1.7 percent versus -2.5 percent).
Despite the state's economy contracting in 2009, Texas' relative economic advantage should continue as the state and U.S. economies turn around and expand again in 2010. Although job growth will continue to lag the renewed expansion of economic production, the Comptroller's office estimates that the Texas' GSP will grow by 2.6 percent during calendar 2010. The U.S. economy should grow at a slower rate of 2.0 percent during the year.
Jobs
· Texas' March 2010 unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, unchanged from February. The March U.S. rate was 9.7 percent, unchanged from February.
· Total nonfarm employment in Texas increased by 8,500 jobs in March, a 0.1 percent increase from the previous month.
· The U.S. lost 2.3 million jobs from March 2009 to March 2010.
· The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 39 consecutive months.
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 to the national real estate crunch.
· 5,722 building permits for single-family homes were issued in February 2010, 1,514 permits more than during February 2009. This the fourth consecutive month that permits have been higher than the same month in the previous year. The total number of permits in the 12 months ending in February 2010 was 66,228. a decrease of 4 percent from the previous 12-month period.
· Multi-family building permits are down, from 1,883 units in February 2009 to 390 units in February 2010. The number of permits issued in the 12 months ending in February 2010 was 13,355, a decrease of 69 percent from the period one year earlier.
· Sales of existing single-family home increased by 48.4 percent in March 2010 over the previous month, to a total of 19,330. Homes sales increased 15.8 percent compared to March 2009.
· In Texas, the median price for existing single-family homes increased by 3.6 percent from March 2009 to March 2010.
· For most of calendar 2008 the number of Texas foreclosures declined, in contrast to the sharp increases in many other states that began in lat 2006 and early 2007. Since Texas entered the recent recession in late 2008, the number of monthly foreclosures has been trending upward. But the recent jump in Texas foreclosures is in line with the levels experienced prior to 2008.
· Texas experienced 15,552 foreclosure filings in March 2010.
Consumer Confidence Index
· U.S. consumer confidence rose by 6 points from February to March 2010, and still remains pessimistic at a level of 52.5, almost 48 percent below its 1985 baseline level. Even, nationwide consumer confidence has rebounded from its recent low in February 2009, and now stands 95.2 percent higher than its level a year ago.
· Texas and surrounding states fared better than the rest of the nation, with the Texas regional index down 25 percent from its 1985 baseline. Texas' regional index rose from 74.1 in February to 75.3 in March, and is now up 62 percent from its level a year ago.
Oil and Natural Gas
· The all-time high crude oil closing price was $145.29 on July 3, 2008, which preceded a 7-month decline to a low point of $33.98 in February 2009.
· Crude oil futures closed at $83.70 per barrel on April 22, 2010, more than double the level of one year ago.
· In fiscal 2008, production tax collections for natural gas were up 42 percent over fiscal 2007. Tax collections for oil were up 72 percent.
· By contrast. In fiscal 2009 production tax collections for natural gas were down 48 percent over fiscal 2008. Tax collections for oil were down 39 percent.
· Natural gas and oil production tax collections combined are significantly lower for the first seven months of fiscal year 2010 compared to the same period in fiscal year 2009.
Taxes
· Texas sales tax receipts for March 2010 were 7.8 percent lower than for March 2009.
· For fiscal 2009, state sales tax receipts are down 2.7 percent from fiscal 2008.
· Motor vehicle sales tax collections for fiscal 2009 were $2,569 billion, down 22.5 percent over fiscal 2008 amount.
· The nationwide core transaction price for a new car or truck during the first 15 days of March 2010 rose 4.18 percent to $26,027 from $24,983 in March 2009.
· For the first 15 days of March 2010, total national industry auto sales were 563,624 units, up 16.0 percent compared to first 15 days of March 2009.
· Nationally, the lease share of new vehicle purchases increased to 24.8 percent of new vehicle purchases; that's 16.4 percent higher than in March 2009.
Stimulus Package
· In Texas, an estimated $18 billion in federal stimulus money is flowing tp 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 proposed 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 program in the proposals could offset negative impacts. For the latest information, visit the Cap and Trade Web page at the Comptroller's Internet site.