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Texas Service Sector Activity Increases at Slower Pace in March, Says Dallas Fed Survey

DALLAS—Texas service sector activity continued to reflect expansion in March, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Texas Service Sector Outlook Survey.

The TSSOS revenue index—a key measure of state service sector conditions—edged down from 13.6 in February to 10.7 in March, its lowest reading since October 2013.

The survey is conducted monthly by the Dallas Fed to obtain a timely assessment of activity in the state’s service sector, which represents almost 70 percent of the state economy and employs close to 7.6 million workers.

Positive readings in the survey generally indicate expansion of service sector activity, while readings below zero generally indicate contraction.

Labor market indicators suggested some softness this month. The employment index remained positive but fell from 12 to 4.2 in March, indicating hiring rose at a slower pace this month. The hours worked index dipped into negative territory to -1 this month, suggesting work hours decreased in March.

Perceptions of broader economic conditions dimmed in March. The general business activity index declined back into negative territory to -4.6.

Indexes of future service sector activity remained in solid positive territory this month.

TSSOS also includes a component called the Texas Retail Outlook Survey, which uses information from respondents in the retail and wholesale sectors only.

Retail sales fell in March, according to business executives responding to the Texas Retail Outlook Survey. The sales index plunged from 6.8 to -6.4 in March, its lowest reading since July 2012.

Indexes of future retail sector activity showed index movements were mixed this month but posted solidly positive readings.

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Media contact:
Justin Jones
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Phone: 214-922-5449
Email: Justin.Jones@dal.frb.org