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San Antonio Economic Indicators

Economic Indicators

October 22, 2020

In September, the San Antonio Business-Cycle Index declined for the first time since April. The unemployment rate increased and jobs declined. Local consumer spending improved in late September, and while the number of small businesses open increased somewhat, it remained well below pre-COVID-19 levels. Stock prices of San Antonio-based companies rose over the four weeks ending Oct. 20.

Business-Cycle Index

The San Antonio Business-Cycle Index—a broad measure of economic activity in the metro—declined 1.6 percent in September (Chart 1). This contraction can be attributed to the recent rise in the unemployment rate and the slight net decline in jobs in September.

Chart 1

Labor Market

Unemployment Rate Ticks Up

The metro’s unemployment rate increased for the first time since April to 8.1 percent in September, below the state’s 8.3 percent rate and above the nation’s 7.9 percent (Chart 2).

Chart 2

Recent Job Growth Mixed

San Antonio jobs declined in September but increased a slight 0.4 percent on an annualized basis (970 net jobs) in the third quarter, with mixed performance across sectors (Chart 3). “Other services” saw the strongest gains over the three-month period (13.0 percent, or 1,100 jobs) and was followed by construction (12.3 percent, or 1,650 jobs) and health and education services (8.6 percent, or 3,280 jobs). The leisure and hospitality sector saw the steepest contraction, down 11.3 percent (-3,600 jobs). While job gains have been broad based since May, they have not been large enough to offset the losses in March and April. So far this year, employment has declined across all sectors, with total jobs down 7.5 percent.

Chart 3

Consumer Spending

Since early April, consumer spending (credit and debit card spending) by Bexar County residents has trended upward, surging temporarily in early September. As of Sept. 27, spending was down 0.6 percent relative to January 2020 in Bexar County and 6.4 percent in the state (Chart 4).

Chart 4

Small Business

Although the number of small businesses open improved in late September, the count has slowly declined after rising markedly from mid-April to late May due to the easing of pandemic closures (Chart 5). As of Sept. 29, the number of small businesses open was down 35.1 percent relative to January levels in San Antonio and 27.2 percent in the state.

Chart 5

Stock Prices

Stock prices of San Antonio-based companies improved 4.8 percent from Sept. 22 to Oct. 20, while the S&P 500 recovered 3.8 percent during the same period (Chart 6). Companies in the financial, food service and manufacturing industries saw their stock values appreciate, while firms in the energy sector posted mixed performances.

Chart 6

NOTE: Data may not match previously published numbers due to revisions.

About San Antonio Economic Indicators

Questions can be addressed to Judy Teng at San Antonio Economic Indicators is published every month on the Thursday after state and metro employment data are released.