DALLAS, Oct. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Comerica Bank's Texas Economic Activity Index increased in August to 126.5. August's index reading was 27.4 percent above the recent low of 99.3 set in June 2020. The index averaged 112.1 points for all of 2020, 13.5 points below the average for 2019. July's index reading was revised to 126.1.
Our Texas Economic Activity Index increased by 0.3 percent in August, marking the sixth consecutive monthly gain, and the thirteenth increase in the last fourteen months. The August index level of 126.5 is about even with the pre-pandemic readings from very early 2020. Seven index components were positive in August. They were nonfarm payrolls, unemployment insurance claims (inverted), housing starts, house prices, industrial electricity demand, drilling rig count and total state trade. Only hotel occupancy and state sales tax revenues declined in August. Higher oil and natural gas prices this fall are supporting profitability in the state's energy sector and motivating increased business investment. Even with higher product prices, the energy sector, like all other businesses, is facing higher input prices and shortages of labor. The upward trend in the state's drilling rig count steepened in September, reaching 250 active rigs in mid-October, still less than half of the late-2018 level. We expect the drilling rig count to continue to trend up through the end of this year. Through September, Texas had recovered 92 percent of the jobs lost in the spring of 2020, on net. This has brought the state unemployment rate down to 5.6 percent, still well above the national average of 4.8 percent. We look for above average job growth in Texas this winter as the state economy continues to normalize.
The Texas Economic Activity Index consists of nine variables, as follows: nonfarm payroll employment, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, housing starts, house price index, industrial electricity sales, Texas rotary rig count, total trade, hotel occupancy and sales tax revenue. All data are seasonally adjusted. Nominal values have been converted to constant dollar values. Total index levels are expressed in terms of three-month moving averages.
Comerica Bank is a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA), a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and strategically aligned by three business segments: The Commercial Bank, The Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Comerica focuses on relationships, and helping people and businesses be successful. In addition to Texas, Comerica Bank locations can be found in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan, with select businesses operating in several other states, as well as in Canada and Mexico. Comerica reported total assets of $94.5 billion as of September 30, 2021.
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