Falling Oil Prices, Construction Volatility Ding Texas Economy In March

Comerica Bank’s Texas Economic Activity Index fell by roughly a percentage point in March to a level of 104.2.

Robert Dye, Comerica Bank’s chief economist, says the decline was caused by volatility in building permits and a drop in the price of oil. But he says overall economic activity remains strong.

"The broadest indicators of that are just general nonfarm employment growth, and sales tax is also a very broad indicator. We’re seeing house prices going up across the state. That’s a very positive signal to homeowners, who are now building equity not only in their 401(k)s but also in their homes — very strong positive wealth effect — and that’s good news for the state economy."

Dye says he expects the index to start climbing again soon, if not when the April numbers come out next month, then certainly by the time the May numbers become available.

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