Reclaiming Common Sense

Texas suffered substantial damage this past hurricane season. It was thought that the hurricane damage to Texas and Florida would negatively impact the National GDP and that the 1-2 punch could have stalled or ended the solid economic growth experienced during 2017. The weekly unemployment claims data did spike after the landfall of Hurricane Harvey. This column has written a few articles regarding this topic.

The data available allows for a look at the employment levels and the unemployment levels. Some sectors had their best December data ever. Some sectors have recovered from the recession and may not be at all-time levels for December, and two are not back to pre-recession levels.

We saw the best December data for Seven Sectors. Construction, Trade, Transportation, and Utilities, Financial Services, Professional Business Services, Education and Health Services, Other Services, and the Government Sector had their best December Data ever. The manufacturing sector has recovered from the recession. It has rebounded from the 2009 low, it was lower than December 2007, and even a bit lower that December 2014. Mining and Logging saw surges during 2011, 2012. 2013, and 2014,. Those gains retreated during 2015 and 2016. The growth during 2017  rebounded to levels comparable to December 2011 and December 2015. Information and Technology saw peak employment in Texas during 2000.

Unemployment in Texas bumped up to 3.7% in Texas during December. You read that correctly. The unemployment rate was below 3.7% during October and November. This level of unemployment is comparable to December 2000 and slightly lower than December 2007. Part of this difference in unemployment rates is a difference in the national participation rate. We do not have the monthly data on Texas workforce population so a Texas participation rate cannot be accurately calculated. Part of the difference is that people are finding work.

There were significant revisions to the national Current Employment Statistics data during January. This will probably be reflected next month when the State data for January is released. The good news is that the Texas Economy has had a Texas sized recovery from the hurricane. There is still room for improvement in Mining and Logging and Information Technology, as well as Manufacturing.

It's the economy.