Texas Quarterly Commercial Report

First Quarter 2021

Economic activity within Texas moderated during first quarter 2021 but remained on the path to recovery despite weather-related disruptions in February. Robust hiring in March resulted in solid first-quarter payroll growth, although joblessness in the Lone Star State was still higher than the national average. Moreover, inflation-adjusted headline wage numbers flattened compared with year-ago levels while initial unemployment claims surged unexpectedly. On the bright side, oil prices rebounded, contributing to increased export values. As Gov. Greg Abbott removed business restrictions amid downward-trending new COVID-19 cases, consumer confidence improved and supported an optimistic outlook on the service-providing sector. The relative health of the state’s economy and favorable business practices attracted migrants and firms from other parts of the country, bolstering population growth and housing demand. Containment of the pandemic is vital as additional waves of infection, although becoming less likely as vaccination rates increase, can weigh on consumer behavior and spending and slow the return to pre-pandemic conditions.

The Texas Nonresidential Construction Cycle (Coincident) Index, which measures current construction levels, ticked down due to declining construction put in place values. The statewide Nonresidential Construction Leading Index points toward further future declines in nonresidential construction activity, amid falling construction value starts. Click to read more at www.recenter.tamu.edu