San Antonio Economic Indicators
September 24, 2021
Broad measures of the San Antonio economy were mixed in August, with jobs declining but the unemployment rate falling. The San Antonio Business-Cycle Index continued to increase but at a slower pace. Consumer spending continued to move sideways but remained above pre-COVID-19 levels. Restaurant demand rebounded recently, and COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the decline after peaking in late August.
Growth in the San Antonio Business-Cycle Index—a broad measure of economic activity in the metro—slowed to an annualized 1.0 percent in August after a mild expansion of 1.6 percent in July (Chart 1). Recent weakness in the index can be attributed to a net job decline in the metro area in August, offset somewhat by further declines in the unemployment rate.
Unemployment Rate Ticks Down
The metro’s unemployment rate declined further in August to 4.8 percent, the lowest since March 2020. The state’s jobless rate fell slightly to 5.9 percent, and the nation’s rate decreased to 5.2 percent (Chart 2).
Recent Job Gains Broad Based
While net payrolls declined from July to August, jobs in San Antonio expanded an annualized 3.5 percent (9,110 jobs) in the three months ending in August, with gains across most sectors (Chart 3). Manufacturing led the growth (14.5 percent, or 1,725 jobs) and was followed by financial activities (10.6 percent, or 2,370 jobs), mining (10.1 percent, or 160 jobs), and professional and business services (6.2 percent, or 2,240 jobs). The only industry that posted net declines was construction (-14.3 percent, or 2,150 jobs). In March and April 2020 combined, 136,764 jobs were lost as the pandemic hit. As of August 2021, 78.7 percent of those jobs had been recovered.
Since early February 2021, consumer spending has remained generally above January 2020 levels, except for the brief dip to below prepandemic levels during the week of Winter Storm Uri in mid-February. Spending in recent weeks has moved sideways; as of Sept. 5, it was 16.1 percent higher in Bexar County and 20.0 percent higher in Texas relative to January 2020 (Chart 4).
San Antonio and Texas restaurant demand, measured by restaurant reservations from OpenTable, rebounded recently after experiencing softening following the high demand during Labor Day weekend (Chart 5). The overall pattern, however, suggests a decline in reservations since early August when COVID-19 cases began to increase sharply. The number of restaurant reservations in San Antonio on Sept. 21 was 12.3 percent above the totals for that same day in 2019; in Texas, there were 6.2 percent more dining reservations relative to that day in 2019.
The number of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in San Antonio has been declining since the latest peak in late August (Chart 6). As of Sept. 19, 1,019 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in San Antonio while 12,379 people were hospitalized in the state.
NOTE: Data may not match previously published numbers due to revisions.
About San Antonio Economic Indicators
Questions can be addressed to Judy Teng at email@example.com. San Antonio Economic Indicators is published every month during the week after state and metro employment data are released.