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Texas economy still under pressure

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas finds room for economic recovery.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
A bank report from Texas finds some parts of the state economy still performing below levels from the height of the last recession. File Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI
A bank report from Texas finds some parts of the state economy still performing below levels from the height of the last recession. File Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

DALLAS, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The number people in Texas who want to work full time but can't find jobs in the oil-rich economy remains above recessionary levels, a report found.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said a low relative minimum wage of $7.50 per hour, fewer regulatory burdens and a facilitating business climate meant the oil-rich state was less impacted by recent economic downturns than other states.

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"A less-severe recession in Texas and a stronger recovery, particularly in services and construction sectors, have contributed to Texas' relatively good performance," Anil Kumar, a senior economist at the bank, said in a statement.

The bank said the number of involuntary part-time workers, those in the workforce who want full-time work but can't get the hours, fell off sharply until oil prices started to collapse in late 2014, but is still about 0.8 percentage points above levels from the recent recession during the latter part of the last decade.

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In a recent forecast, the bank said it expected the rate of employment to grow by 0.8 percent for the rest of the year, though some major cities like Houston, where many energy companies have their headquarters, saw their rates of unemployment increase.

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Apart from oil, Texas is one of the top manufacturing states in the country and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said a stronger dollar, which makes U.S. goods more expensive, continued to put pressure on that part of the state economy.

For crude oil, prices in the upper $40-per-barrel range continue to put stress on the state economy. Both oil and natural gas production are lower than last year and demand for oilfield services like well drilling has declined.

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