Low unemployment levels and steady nonresidential construction indicated a healthy border economy. The lack of wage growth, however, revealed additional slack in the labor market. Despite stagnant wages and slower job growth, housing demand was strong, albeit in the lower price ranges. Trade values balanced around record highs, and the outlook improved following the announcement of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. The unofficial pact calms concerns of supply-chain disruptions and overall operating uncertainty.
Recently released 2017 gross metropolitan product (GMP) data revealed mixed trends along the border. The Brownsville economy contracted 0.8 percent year over year (YOY), while El Paso’s economy inched forward just 0.3 percent. Economic output in Laredo recovered most of its 2016 losses, rebounding 1 percent YOY. McAllen’s GMP increased 1.9 percent YOY but remained below its ten-year average of 2.4 percent.
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