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The Economist: Economic Forecast for Texas’ Large Cities

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The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
Dr. M. Ray Perryman
March 12, 2014 | 4304 views | Post a comment

The Perryman Group’s most recent forecast indicates that the state and its major metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) will continue to expand at a healthy rate through 2018, though growth in the national economy remains sluggish.

The Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos MSA continues to be among the strongest performers in the nation and the state, remaining the top market in the nation in numerous rankings. The area is expected to sustain momentum and continue to outpace growth in other parts of the United States, despite a slight slow-down over the past few months that is largely attributable to a particular weakness in the government sector. Through 2018, the Austin area is forecast to see gains in output (real gross product or RGP) at a 4.48% yearly rate, for an overall increase of almost $23.3 billion. Nearly 119,500 net new jobs are projected to be added (2.55% per annum growth) to bring wage and salary employment to more than a million jobs over the next five years.

Though the national fiscal situation is weighing down performance in the Dallas-Plano-Irving Metropolitan Division (MD), it is expected the area will perform well in the coming years. The Greater Dallas area had been outperforming the national trend, but has recently seen job losses in several sectors which slowed the momentum building through much of last year. The area is home to many corporate headquarters, distribution/logistic firms, and other companies more likely to be affected by national uncertainty. However, it is likely that notable improvement will be observed through the forecast horizon. The Perryman Group’s most recent forecast indicates output (RGP) expansion at a 4.45% pace, for a gain of more than $72.8 billion through 2018. Wage and salary employment is projected to expand by over 295,400 during the period as well (a 2.45% yearly pace).

The Fort Worth-Arlington MD added almost 25,000 new jobs during 2013, though some industries shed positions in December. The area’s services, trade, and manufacturing segments have been important sources for hiring. Ongoing national improvement will lead to expansion in the area economy, particular for distribution and logistics firms. However, the region’s notable defense-oriented manufacturing base will continue to suffer from federal budget cuts. Even with these challenges, The Perryman Group’s forecast indicates moderate growth at a rate outpacing much of the United States, with RGP likely to increase at a 4.52% annual rate through 2018 for a gain of almost $24.1 billion. Over the same 2013-2018 period, wage and salary employment is expected to grow by 117,700 jobs, a 2.32% per annum gain.

Like all areas strongly linked to the federal government through military bases and other activity, the El Paso MSA has struggled with budget cuts. However, El Paso gained jobs very late in the year to end 2013 virtually where it started in terms of total employment. The area is projected to see modest growth over the next five years, with output (RGP) expected to grow at 3.70% annually for a gain of more than $4.9 billion through 2018. Employment is forecast to increase by nearly 34,200, a 2.02% yearly growth rate.

The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown MSA economy was very strong through most of 2013, though some industries experienced slowing late in the year. As a major center for the oil industry and related activity, Houston has benefitted from the state’s surge in oil exploration and production. Regional port infrastructure is also an important source of business activity for the area which is likely to expand in the coming years. Over the next five years, output in the area is projected to expand at a 4.90% annual rate, leading to an increase of more than $112.3 billion. Wage and salary employment is forecast to grow by almost 373,900 jobs (2.43% per year).

During the past year, the San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA has experienced spotty performance, with job gains in some industries offset by losses in others. While there has been notable expansion, the pace of growth has been somewhat slower than in some of the other major Texas metropolitan areas. Even so, the area’s strengths, including health care, higher education, and hospitality, are recovering. Ongoing national improvement will also stimulate gains in the San Antonio area’s manufacturing and tourism industries. The manufacturing sector is continuing to see expansion, and the area is benefitting from the spillover effects of the nearby Eagle Ford Shale drilling activity. The Perryman Group’s most recent forecast indicates wage and salary employment will grow by an estimated 2.22% per annum over the next five years with the addition of almost 110,000 net new jobs. The MSA is expected to experience gains in output (RGP) at a 4.14% yearly pace, for a total increment of $18.5 billion through 2018.

Texas’ largest metropolitan areas are crucially important to future prosperity for Texas. Growth in these centers for business activity leads to spillover benefits in communities across the state. The Perryman Group’s latest forecast indicates continued relatively healthy performance through the short-term horizon and beyond.

Dr. M. Ray Perryman is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Perryman Group ( He also serves as Institute Distinguished Professor of Economic Theory and Method at the International Institute for Advanced Studies.
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