Market Statistics

Texas Weekly Leading Index

Based on data through July 17, 2021

The Texas Weekly Leading Index decreased for a third straight week. The index has been gathering impetus and is pointing toward higher future economic activity as the reopening of the economy continues. Unfortunately, after months of declines in COVID-19 cases the number of new cases has increased due to the number of people not yet vaccinated combined with the presence of the Delta variant that has shown to be more contagious. This has increased uncertainty surrounding the end of the pandemic.

The index’s decrease was mainly due to an increase in the number of people filing for unemployment insurance. It was offset by an increase in the number of new business applications. The elevated number of new business applications signals strong future business activity.

Texas’ initial jobless claims have increased for two straight weeks to 44,256 the week ending July 17 as the labor market continues to gradually recover. In addition, continuing unemployment claims increased to 187,779 the week ending July 10. The increase in initial claims occurred even after Texas opted out of further federal unemployment assistance starting June 26, 2021. Transitions from unemployment to employment have likely been reduced by the effect of the pandemic on women since they were more likely than men to leave their jobs to take care of children because of in-person school and daycare closures. This outcome should be reverted once schools and daycares return to in-person learning and caregiving in the fall. Other possible factors affecting the transition from unemployment to employment could be the lingering pandemic, early retirement, and the possibility that people are taking more time to consider other career paths. Record job openings suggest that while the economy is still short of pre-COVID employment levels, it is not due to insufficient labor demand.

The outlook for the reopening and recovery of the state’s economy took somewhat of a hit as the number of new cases reverted their downward trend and continued increasing the week ending July 17. It is important for vaccination rates to increase at a higher rate. This would continue to benefit consumer behavior, increasing business activity that would increase hiring and allowing people to return to the labor force. Currently, 52.3 percent of the states’ population 12 years and older is fully vaccinated based on the most current data (07/28/2021) from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

In addition, a marginal increase in the real rate for the ten-year Treasury bill (which continues to exhibit a negative return in real terms) contributed to the fall in the weekly index. In contrast, an increase in the real price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil countered the decrease in the weekly index.

The rebound in Texas’ economic activity could be hindered by possible upsurges in COVID-19 cases as economic and social activity increases. Further waves of infections can reverse increased mobility and spending, affecting the path to recovery. […] read the full report

Stay in the loop. MetroTex provides current and relevant monthly and annual data reports with the support of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

2021 Reports

Total Texas housing sales increased 2 percent in May but continued to normalize from elevated levels the last few months of 2020. Single-family housing permits rose for the third consecutive month, although housing starts stumbled as lumber prices skyrocketed. Overall, sales were persistent despite rising costs and limited supply for homes priced less than $300,000, pushing sales activity toward higher-priced homes. Mortgage rates inched down after rising during the first quarter, but double-digit home-price appreciation chipped away at housing affordability. The unprecedented low level of inventory available for sale is the greatest challenge to Texas’ housing market. The state’s diverse and expanding economy, favorable business policies, and steady population growth, however, supported a favorable outlook.  […] full report

*All measurements are calculated using seasonally adjusted data, and percentage changes are calculated month over month, unless stated otherwise.