2017 A Banner Year for Texas Economic Growth


Texas is closing the books on 2017 after seeing a good year for the state's economy, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Economist Ray Perryman says more than 316,000 new full time jobs were added to the state in 2017, pushing the state's unemployment rate down to 3.9%, which is the lowest in four decades, since the 'J.R. Ewing' oil boom of the mid 1970s.

"The energy sector is coming back to some extent," Perryman told News Radio 1200 WOAI.  "We have good strong growth in our tech sector, or health sector, and a number of others."

The energy sector is of particular interest, because the drop in the price of oil in 2014 caused the oil and gas industry to lose tens of thousands of employees, and 2015 was the first year this decade that the Texas economy performed worse than the nation's economy.

Perryman says a combination of efficencies in the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin shale fields, efficiencies which have include wide scale automation which has significantly reduced the total number of oilfield jobs, the sector is rebounding.

He says the rig count in the state's two major shale fields today is averaging nearly 200 more than last December.

"It promotes a lot of growth when the energy industry is strong, and we are expecting a lot of good growth right now," he said.

Another area that is showing strength is manufacturing, especially manufacturing for export, as Texas exports are surging.

Ironically, Hurricane Harvey has turned out to be a net improvement for the Texas economy.  Following a dip during and immediately after the storm itself, Harvey has led to essentially full employment in the construction and home repair sectors, and has been a big boost to home improvement, furniture, and especially automotive retailers.

The San Antonio metro economy is performing even better.  San Antonio's unemployment rate in September of 3.2% was the lowest in the city's history, with all segments of the economy, except for travel and leisure, showing strong employment growth.

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