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San Antonio Economic Indicators

Economic Indicators

December 30, 2021

Broad measures of the San Antonio economy were largely positive in November. The San Antonio Business-Cycle Index accelerated, jobs were added at a healthy pace and the unemployment rate fell. However, housing affordability continued to retract in the third quarter, and home sales decreased in November. Recent COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen.

Business-Cycle Index

The San Antonio Business-Cycle Index—a broad measure of economic activity in the metro—accelerated to 8.1 percent in November after posting mild 2.7 percent growth in October (Chart 1). Recent index growth can be largely attributed to strong net job gains.

Chart 1

Labor Market

Unemployment Rate Declines

The metro’s unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent in November, the lowest since March 2020 (Chart 2). The state’s jobless rate decreased slightly to 5.2 percent, and the nation’s rate contracted to 4.2 percent, also the lowest since March 2020. In the three months ending in November, San Antonio’s labor force expanded an annualized 6.8 percent, well above Texas’ 3.6 percent and the nation’s 1.3 percent gains.

Chart 2

Recent Job Gains Mostly Positive

San Antonio payrolls expanded an annualized 5.7 percent (14,845 jobs) in the three months ending in November (Chart 3). The leisure and hospitality sector led growth (24.1 percent, or 6,828 jobs) and was followed by mining (11.2 percent, or 181 jobs), professional and business services (9.0 percent, or 3,283 jobs) and government (5.2 percent, or 2,176 jobs). Industries that posted net contractions were manufacturing (-5.0 percent, or 664 jobs) and health and private education services (-0.4 percent, or 145 jobs). In March and April 2020 combined, 138,332 jobs were lost in the metro as the pandemic hit. As of November 2021, 87.3 percent of those jobs had been recovered.

Chart 3

Real Estate

Housing Affordability Ticks Down

Housing affordability in San Antonio, defined as the percentage of homes sold that the median-income household can afford, continued to fall during the third quarter to 59.3 percent, 2.0 percentage points below the level in the second quarter (Chart 4). Home affordability was unchanged at the national level at 56.6 percent. Since the pandemic hit (first quarter 2020), housing affordability has retracted 8.0 percentage points in San Antonio and 9.4 percentage points in the nation.

Chart 4

Recent Home Sales Decline

San Antonio existing-home sales decreased 5.0 percent in November after posting a 1.2 percent gain in October (Chart 5). Statewide, sales expanded 1.9 percent in November. In the first 11 months of the year, the metro’s home sales were up 6.0 percent compared with the same period in 2020—slightly below the state’s 7.3 percent increase. The median price of homes sold in San Antonio in November was $305,602—an 11.4 percent gain year over year. In the state, the median home price was $318,922, a 9.8 percent jump.

Chart 5

COVID-19 Statistics

In mid-November, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in San Antonio started to flatten out and has increased sharply since mid-December (Chart 6). At the state level, hospitalizations increased steadily in mid-November and surged in mid-December. As of Dec. 28, 246 people in San Antonio and 3,932 in the state were hospitalized with COVID-19.

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 during the week after state and metro employment data are released.