Texas Service Sector Outlook Survey
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reports that Texas service sector activity increased in December but at a slower pace, according to business executives responding to the Texas Service Sector Outlook Survey. The revenue index, a key measure of state service sector conditions, fell from 14 to 9, which is indicative of slower revenue growth.
Labor market indicators reflected stronger hiring and slightly longer workweeks. The employment index moved up from 5.5 to 8.8, its best reading in nine months. The hours worked index edged down to 2.1 in December, suggesting hours worked rose more slowly in December.
The uptick in hiring is continued good news for the Texas Office Market in major employment centers which have performed well in comparison to most other major metropolitan areas. Industry experts are projecting the strongest office market performance in 2012 for markets with a high concentration of technology and energy firms. This bodes well for all of the Texas major markets; Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.
Retail sales increased in December, according to business executives responding to the Texas Retail Outlook Survey. The volatile sales index edged down from 12.8 to 11 and has seen five consecutive months of sales increases. Inventories rose.
Labor market indicators reflected continued hiring, but little change in the length of the workweek. The employment index ticked up to 8.8. The hours worked index dropped to zero in December, suggesting average workweeks stalled.
Texas has the strongest retail sector in the nation, and it is one of the few states to currently have more retail jobs than it did before the recession.