Texas Economic Growth Shifts into Slightly Higher Gear
Employment Approaching Long-Run Growth Rate
Texas payroll employment grew at a 1.7 percent annual rate in fourth quarter 2016, close to its historical average of 2.1 percent (Chart 1). While this is well below the 3.7 percent rate that prevailed in 2014, it represents the second consecutive quarter in which Texas’ employment growth surpassed the nation’s. In the more volatile monthly data, December employment declined slightly, although November and October figures were revised substantially upward.
Strengthening employment growth in the second half of 2016 was led by San Antonio, whose annualized growth rate rose from 2.4 percent in the first half to 5.0 percent in the second, and Dallas, whose growth rate rose from 2.3 percent to 4.0 percent (Chart 2). Houston also turned in a better-than-expected employment performance, rallying from −1.1 percent to 0.9 percent growth amid improvements in the energy sector.