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Comerica Bank: Texas Economy Treading Water, Despite Drag From Cheap Oil

Low gasoline prices are helping transportation services and automakers.

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Comerica Bank's Texas Economic Activity Index

Comerica Bank's Texas Economic Activity Index registered 94.1 in November. That's down 0.6 percentage points from October and the index's lowest level in nearly four years.

The index tracks eight variables. One of the strongest performers is employment, despite ongoing job cuts by businesses tied to oil exploration and production.

"It's almost a tale of two cities, to go back to Dickens here. We've got a tale of two economies," says Robert Dye, Comerica Bank's chief economist. "We have some sectors of the Texas economy doing relatively well, despite the drag from the energy sector. We have transportation-distribution companies doing well. We have medical care, other things, auto manufacturing in the state doing well."

Dye notes that cheap gasoline is putting more money into the pockets of Texas consumers. That's helping to sustain sales tax revenues, even as oil and gas revenues continue to fall.