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Texas Economy 'Facing Uncertain Waters' Heading into 2019, Says Dallas Fed Economist

State employment forecast to grow 0.9-1.9 percent, down from 2.4 percent in 2018

For Immediate Release: January 15, 2019

SAN ANTONIO—Texas employment is forecast to grow between 0.9 and 1.9 percent in 2019, said Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas assistant vice president and senior economist Keith Phillips today in San Antonio.

The forecast means Texas should add 113,671 to 239,972 jobs in 2019. State employment grew at 2.4 percent, adding approximately 293,000 jobs in 2018 and outpacing the nation's 1.8 percent job growth.

"After accelerating strongly in 2018, Texas job growth is likely to slow to about 1.4 percent in 2019 as labor constraints limit growth along I-35 corridor and low oil prices slow growth in oil-producing regions," Phillips said.

Phillips presented the Bank's annual Texas Economic Outlook before local business leaders at the Dallas Fed's San Antonio Branch.

"Businesses are scrambling to find workers to meet growing demand," he said. "In the meantime, new tariffs, trade uncertainty and a recent fall in oil prices have the state facing uncertain waters," according to Phillips.

Among the state's major metropolitan areas, job growth slowed in Dallas and San Antonio in 2018 but rebounded in the energy-dependent metros, including Houston, which experienced a faster pace of growth than the rest of the state.

Looking ahead to 2019, the biggest risk to the forecast is a sharp decline in oil prices or exports, Phillips said.

The Dallas Fed releases its Texas Employment Forecast on a monthly basis in conjunction with the release of monthly Texas employment data. The forecast projects job growth for the calendar year and is estimated as the 12-month change in payroll employment from December to December. For information on the methodology for the Bank's Texas Employment Forecast, visit the Dallas Fed's website.

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Media contact:
Jennifer Chamberlain
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Phone: (214) 922-6748
Email: jennifer.chamberlain@dal.frb.org