Regional economic indicators point to decelerating job and output growth this spring. Employment grew at a sluggish pace in April and May after strong activity earlier in the year. The Texas Business Outlook surveys also reflect slowing expansion. The single-family housing market is improving, although residential construction remains weak. Monthly exports fell in April, as did the Texas Leading Index. Still, the job forecast continues to call for stronger growth in 2012 than in 2011.
Employment Growth Decelerates
Employment growth slowed to a 0.8 percent annualized rate in May (Chart 1). This stemmed from the goods-producing sector, where employment contracted 4 percent. Job losses were in mining (with a 16.4 percent annualized loss, the first notable decline since 2009) and in manufacturing. Construction added jobs but at a slower pace than in April. Service sector employment growth picked up in May, spurred by robust growth in professional and business services, a sector that lost jobs in the prior two months. Since December, employment has risen in all sectors except government, which declined at a 1.6 percent annualized rate. Total year-to-date annualized job growth in Texas is 2.4 percent, nearly a percentage point greater than of the nation. The Texas unemployment rate remained at 6.9 percent in May.
Read more...The Regional Economy: Growth Eases in the Spring - Dallas Fed