Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 3pm

Texas Economy Building Momentum to Start Year

Growth in the Texas economy picked up at year-end 2019 and accelerated into January, according to the Texas Business Outlook Surveys (TBOS). Job gains in December were led by service sector growth, adjusted Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll employment data showed. Separately, TBOS respondents reported a return to mild expansion in manufacturing at the start of 2020.

Dallas Fed contacts indicate that the rig count is likely near a soft bottom, although further declines are possible. The Dallas Fed Energy Survey shows that Eleventh District energy activity is still contracting slightly overall, though there was a rebound into positive territory among exploration and production firms in the fourth quarter.

U.S. Added 225,000 Jobs in January

Payrolls rose by 225,000 in January and the unemployment rate increased slightly to 3.6%, thanks to an increase in workforce participation, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. Notable job gains occurred in construction, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing.

Manufacturing employment was down 12,000 in January and has shown little movement, on net, over the past 12 months.

ISM: Factory Activity Expands for First Time Since July

Manufacturing expanded in January, as the PMI registered 50.9%, an increase of 3.1% from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 47.8%. “The PMI expanded in January after contracting for five straight months. Four of the big six industries expanded, compared with two in December. Six of the PMI’s 10 subindexes recorded expansion, a marked improvement from the final months of 2019,” says Timothy R. Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing business survey committee.

U.S. GDP Increases 2.1% for Second Straight Quarter

Real GDP in the U.S. increased at an annual rate of 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the advance estimate released by the Department of Commerce. In the third quarter, real GDP also increased 2.1%.

In the fourth quarter, a downturn in imports, an acceleration in government spending, and a smaller decrease in nonresidential investment were offset by a larger decrease in private inventory investment and a slowdown in personal consumption expenditures.

Consumer Optimism Jumps in January

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in January, following a moderate increase in December. The Index now stands at 131.6, up from 128.2 (an upward revision) in December.

“Consumer confidence increased in January, following a moderate advance in December, driven primarily by a more positive assessment of the current job market and increased optimism about future job prospects,” said Lynn Franco, senior director, economic indicators, at The Conference Board. “Optimism about the labor market should continue to support confidence in the short-term and, as a result, consumers will continue driving growth and prevent the economy from slowing in early 2020.”


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