December marked the fourth consecutive increase for the monthly index, following a flat performance across early 2013. Robert Dye is chief economist at Comerica Bank.
“We’ve had natural gas prices supported by this very cold weather, which has increased demand nationwide. We have oil prices, crude oil prices up near $100 a barrel. We have a broadening base for the whole Texas economy. And I think those factors, plus the advantages to Texas that we all know about — lifestyle, cost of living, central location, all of that still applies — so I think this is going to be another good year for Texas.”
New hiring, sales tax revenues, and building permits also boosted Texas’ economic activity in December. On the down side, unemployment claims rose and state exports fell.
The index averaged 105 points for the whole of 2013, three points above the yearly average for 2012.