Texas Economy Gathering Steam

The index rose one point in January to a level of 94. January's reading is up 22 points, or 31%, above the low set in mid-2009. Robert Dye is Comerica Bank's chief economist.

"My expectation for 2012 is that we continue to see moderate-to-strong economic growth in Texas coming from a broad-based improvement in labor market conditions, coming from strong energy markets, and residential construction starting to come back as well."

Dye says there are still significant risk factors to watch out for. He says the Dallas-Fort Worth area would probably lose jobs if a competitor merges with the bankrupt American Airlines. He also says Texas defense contractors will take a hit from expected budget cuts.

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