San Antonio Economic Indicators
Growth in the San Antonio economy slowed in March. The San Antonio Business-Cycle Index decelerated below its long-term pace, primarily due to a decline in jobs and a slight increase in the unemployment rate. Hourly wages flattened out somewhat, while residential real estate indicators continue to trend upward.
The San Antonio Business-Cycle Index expanded at a 1.8 percent annualized rate in March, a slowdown from February’s 2.8 percent and below the long-term average of 3.0 percent (Chart 1). The most significant contributor to the deceleration was a 3.9 percent decline in March employment, along with a slight increase in the area unemployment rate.
Unemployment Rate Remains Below State Average
The San Antonio unemployment rate increased slightly to 3.5 percent in March (Chart 2). The Texas rate held steady at 4.0 percent for a fourth consecutive month, while the U.S. rate held steady at 4.1 percent for a sixth consecutive month. The local labor force fell slightly in March, although for the first quarter, growth was an annualized 2.8 percent, well above last year’s 1.7 percent.
Job Growth Weakens in First Quarter
San Antonio jobs declined at a 0.2 percent annualized rate in the first quarter (Chart 3). Across industries, mining continued to post the strongest job gains, while manufacturing also accelerated sharply compared with last year. Trade, transportation and utilities employment picked up due to an 8.7 percent rise in retail jobs, while government hiring increased due to growth in local government. Conversely, leisure and hospitality shed jobs at a sharp 6.8 percent rate after a strong fourth-quarter increase last year. The surge and decline were likely due to a temporary increase in demand from displaced victims of Hurricane Harvey. Professional and business services, health care and financial services also fell after growing in 2017.
Regional Hourly Wage Growth Flat
The average hourly wage for private-sector jobs in San Antonio flattened out at $23.12 after slipping in the second half of last year (Chart 4). Growth in the first quarter was an annualized 0.2 percent, lower than national wage growth of 2.7 percent but stronger than the 2 percent decline in the overall average state wage.
The San Antonio median home price ticked up to $219,998 in March, compared with Texas’ median price of $231,597 (Chart 5). San Antonio home prices rose 5.0 percent year over year, above the state’s 3.2 percent. Meanwhile, home inventories held at 3.3 months’ supply, well below the six months considered a balanced market.
Stock prices of companies with a significant presence in San Antonio rose 5.2 percent from March 26 to April 24, compared with a 0.9 percent decline in the S&P 500 over the same time (Chart 6). Growth was strong in energy-related firms, which led the overall increase. Financial firms also saw healthy gains, while food services, manufacturing, communications and retail companies showed mixed performance.
NOTE: Data may not match previously published numbers due to revisions.
About San Antonio Economic Indicators
Questions can be addressed to Christopher Slijk at firstname.lastname@example.org. San Antonio Economic Indicators is published every month on the Thursday after state and metro employment data are released.