You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Economists: Texas economy to pick up in 2017, but modestly


The Texas economy and labor market should grow a little sunnier this year, but a few of the dark clouds that gathered in the past two years will linger into 2017, according to economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Texas employers should expand payrolls by 2 percent this year, about 242,000 jobs, senior economist Keith Phillips said this week in San Antonio. While far lower than the state’s long-run average, which typically exceeds national job growth rates, the job gains in 2017 are expected to surpass the estimated 1.6 percent annual growth rate through November of last year.

“We think the worst is behind us, but there’s a lot of uncertainty out there,” said Mine Yücel, the Dallas Fed’s director of research.

Yücel reiterated Phillips’ 2017 job growth forecast Wednesday during a business forecast breakfast hosted by the University of Texas McCombs School of Business.

Despite the sharp drop in oil prices that sent the energy industry into a tailspin over the past two years, Yücel said, Texas did not drop into a recession at any point. And the modest recovery in commodity prices has helped stem the bleeding of oilfield services jobs and helped buoy statewide manufacturing outlooks, she said.

Yet the same factors that dragged on the state economy in 2015 and 2016 continue to weigh on growth at the start of the new year.

While rig counts and production levels have started to recover, energy prices remain below levels that typically spur new well drilling. Meanwhile, the strong U.S. dollar and economic weakness among some of the state’s primary trading partners are hampering Texas exporters, Yücel said.

Texas still fared better than most energy states, Philips said earlier in the week. And the Interstate 35 corridor, particularly Dallas and Austin, remained an exception to the otherwise modest growth in Texas, he said.

“Job growth picked up in the second half of 2016 due to a stabilization of the energy sector,” he said. “With that positive momentum, the Texas economy enters 2017 poised to shift into ‘second gear.’”

Dallas led the second-half rebound, the Fed economists noted, adding roughly 73,000 jobs through November.

Job growth in Austin, however, softened during the second half of the year despite a solid gain for 2016 as a whole.

“One reason is Austin is at full employment,” Yücel said, noting the metro area’s 3 percent unemployment rate. “It’s harder to grow when you’re at full employment.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Up the Ladder

Construction Journeyman Group has named Ross Hamilton vice president of development. Technology National Instruments has named Karen Rapp chief financial officer. The Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium has named Dave Evans, Masanori Fukushima and Steve Rosenberg to its board of directors.
Fitness Connection is latest addition to Shops at Tech Ridge
Fitness Connection is latest addition to Shops at Tech Ridge

A New York real estate firm is wasting no time filling up empty storefronts at a North Austin shopping center it recently acquired. RD Management last year took ownership of Shops at Tech Ridge, 12901 N. Interstate 35, shortly after a SuperTarget store closed, leaving more than 100,000 square feet of space vacant. First, RD Management and The Retail...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

TAX CHANGE Texas Senate OKs plan to phase out state’s franchise tax: A measure that could eliminate Texas’ franchise tax — the state’s primary tax on business — within a decade won approval from the Texas Senate last week. Senate Bill 17, filed by state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and backed by the Texas Association...
Use economic research to call a truce in divorce wars

Thanks to their rich parents, my friends “Joe” and “Sue’s” wedding was a three-day, 200-guest extravaganza on Maryland’s Chesapeake shore. Day 1 featured a fantastic clambake. Day 2’s barbecue was to die for. Day 3’s nuptials were black-tie, with tears, cheers, mouth-watering canapes, filet mignon, Dom...
Austin job growth eased in 2016, but just to a more sustainable sprint
Austin job growth eased in 2016, but just to a more sustainable sprint

The latest revisions to last year’s workforce data confirmed that Austin-area employers added jobs at a much faster rate than initially reported — but also that its growth eased from the sizzling pace of the prior four years and has remained on that more modest trajectory through the start of 2017. The number of jobs in the Austin metro...
More Stories