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TEXAS ECONOMY

Dallas Fed says Texas job growth will rebound to 3 percent this year: With the Texas economy “firing on all cylinders,” statewide job growth will accelerate in 2018, but the increasingly tight labor market here and across the country will limit the surge, according to a forecast from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

The Dallas Fed now expects Texas employers to add around 366,000 jobs, an increase of 3 percent. The state added 305,900 jobs in 2017, up 2.5 percent, ranking third-fastest among all states after two years of job growth that trailed the national average.

“It’s hard to find weakness right now,” said Keith Phillips, senior economist and assistant vice president of the Dallas Fed’s San Antonio branch. “It reflects a very broad-based strength across industries and sectors.”

The rebound to the 3 percent job-growth threshold, up from 2.5 percent in 2017, marks a return toward the booming expansion rates the Lone Star State enjoyed before oil and gas prices plummeted in 2014.

The downturn in the energy sector and its ripple effects through the other, closely related industries in Texas weighed on job growth until last year, when energy prices stabilized and manufacturing output increased.

Oil prices have stabilized and, absent a sustained drop below $40 a barrel, should help continue job gains across the oil and gas and related industries, Phillips said. Energy sector firms in the state expect oil prices around $59 a barrel at the end of 2018, according to a monthly Dallas Fed survey.

Phillips said the latest survey showed a strong increase in capital expenditures during the fourth quarter, suggesting that oil and gas companies were ramping up activity as they readied for 2018.

“Our energy survey suggests that, barring some big shock that would affect (oil and gas) prices, 2018 will be a good year for the energy sector,” he said.

ENERGY DEAL

Parsley Energy to lease 31-story tower in downtown Austin: Parsley Energy, a fast-growing oil and natural gas company, has signed a lease to occupy all of the office space in a 31-story high-rise planned for downtown Austin.

The building’s developers said that Parsley Energy has signed a 12-year lease for 302,000 square feet of space in the proposed tower. Named 300 Colorado after its address, the building is estimated to cost about $175 million to construct, according to the developers.

Founded in 2008, Parsley is a publicly traded company that operates hundreds of oil and natural gas wells in the Permian Basin in West Texas. The company employs more than 450 people. Parsley officials declined Monday to comment on future hiring projections.

The building would have a total of 309,000 square feet of space, with the other 7,000 square feet to be leased by Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group for its Grille restaurant concept. Del Frisco’s is the parent of Sullivan’s Steakhouse, which has operated at 300 Colorado since 1996 but will shut down on Tuesday.

The new office tower is being developed by Atlanta-based Cousins Properties and Austin-based developers Riverside Resources and Ironwood Real Estate. Plans call for it to be 420 feet tall and have 18 floors of office space atop 13 levels of above-ground parking, said Tim Hendricks, senior vice president for Cousins Properties in Austin.

Cousins and its partners anticipate starting construction on the new office building in December, with the tower due to be completed in December 2020. Cousins will have a 50 percent stake in the venture.

Ironwood acquired the site in 2006, and initially announced plans for a residential high-rise with Riverside Resources, before changing course to partner with Cousins to develop 300 Colorado.

The new building will be directly across from Colorado Tower, another office tower Cousins developed where Parsley Energy currently occupies 135,000 square feet of space. Parsley will continue to occupy that space, in addition to its future new space, Cousins officials said.



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