Texas Economic Activity Index Inches Upward
Comerica Bank’s Texas Economic Activity Index increased in April to 117.5. April’s index reading was 18.4 percent above the recent low of 99.2 set in June 2020. The index averaged 112.1 points for all of 2020, 13.5 points below the average for 2019. March’s index reading was revised to 115.4.
The Texas Economic Activity Index increased by 1.8 percent in April, continuing the economic rebound from the February freeze out. Seven out of nine sub-indexes were positive for the month including nonfarm employment, unemployment insurance claims (inverted), house prices, drilling rig count, total state trade, hotel occupancy and state sales tax revenue. The housing starts and industrial electricity demand sub-indexes both contracted for the month.
Higher-than-expected oil prices will motivate increased oil field activity in Texas this summer. Some analysts are forecasting $100 oil by the end of the year. If that happens, that would certainly pull capital back into the Texas oil industry.
The Texas COVID-19 full vaccination rate of about 40 percent as of June 21 leaves a significant amount of the state population exposed to the COVID-19 D variant, which is rapidly gaining traction in many parts of the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the D variant spreads more easily and causes more severe symptoms than other variants. As a result, COVID-19 remains a significant risk to public health in Texas through the remainder of this year.