The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently published its monthly economic outlook for Houston. Highlights were
- Houston jobs grew at an annualized rate of 4.0% over the three months ending in May (30,500 jobs). Biggest gains were in professional and business services (11,200), manufacturing (4,800) and education and health services (3,000).
- Year-over-year job growth accelerated to 2.6% in May (77,000).
- Houston unemployment rate dropped to 4.5% in March (Texas 4.1%, USA 3.8%)
- 2017 job gains were revised downwards slightly to 1.7% (51,100)
- Exports of oil and gas, including LNG were up 67% from Jan-April, compared to the same period last year. Year-to-year growth in exports of chemicals through April slowed to 5.8% compared to 10.5% in 2017.
Last week, Gov Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Donald Trump in which he warned that tariffs on foreign steel, aluminum and other products risk slowing economic growth in Texas. Texas imported more than $8.3 billion in steel and aluminum last year, much of it pipe that cannot be manufactured in the US. In addition Gov Abbott pointed out that Texas exports $8 billion of tariff-eligible goods to China.
More tariffs between the US and China are set to take effect July 6.
If the tariffs go into effect, it will be interesting to see how long it takes for the effect to show up in the economic indicators for Houston.