COLLEGE STATION – Lower oil prices plus a pandemic mean Texas’ economy is being hit harder than the world and the rest of the United States. But a researcher monitoring the state’s weekly economic heartbeat, says he detects positive signs.
"After flattening the last two weeks of May, the Texas weekly leading index increased during the first week of June," said Research Economist Dr. Luis Torres with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. "This was due to an increase in business applications, fewer people becoming unemployed, and growth in the real price of oil."
The COVID-19 health crisis is unlike any crisis to hit the Texas economy, said Torres.
"The economy is currently going through a self-induced, sudden-stop in an attempt to stabilize the spread of the virus and save lives. The size of the economic shock will likely result in losses that overshadow those from the 2008-09 financial crisis," he said.
In response to the pandemic, researchers at the Real Estate Center developed a system to monitor economic variables and better forecast changes. The Center’s new Texas high-frequency economic activity index estimates the timing and length of future upswings and downturns on a weekly basis. Read COVID-19 Impact Projections on Texas' Economy.
“The index is signaling economic improvements going forward and possibly a rebound from the economic shutdown imposed in March and April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Torres.
The Real Estate Center has a wealth of economic information online for free.