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San Antonio Economic Indicators

Economic Indicators
May 25, 2018

Growth in the San Antonio economy picked up in April. The San Antonio Business-Cycle Index accelerated to just slightly below its long-term pace as jobs increased and the unemployment rate fell. Home affordability continues to improve, although home construction growth has been somewhat subdued this year compared with the state overall.

Business-Cycle Index

The San Antonio Business-Cycle Index expanded at a 2.8 percent annualized rate in April, an increase from March’s 2.2 percent (Chart 1). Payroll jobs rose 2.0 percent, while the unemployment rate fell slightly, boosting growth in the index.

Chart 1

Labor Market

Unemployment Rate Remains Below State Average

The San Antonio unemployment rate decreased to 3.4 percent in April (Chart 2). Meanwhile, the Texas rate inched up to 4.1 percent, and the U.S. rate fell to an 18-year low of 3.9 percent. Labor force growth is an annualized 2.8 percent year to date, below the state’s 3.6 percent increase.

Chart 2

Job Growth Soft Through April

San Antonio jobs increased at a 0.7 percent annualized rate over the three months through April (Chart 3). Mining maintained its position as the fastest-growing industry. Manufacturing was strong, adding 800 jobs over this time, while construction moderated from last year’s robust pace but expanded above its 20-year average of 2.0 percent. Service sectors were more mixed as information and other services added jobs at a rapid pace, but trade, professional services and financial activities shed jobs. Government, health care and hospitality grew weakly.

Chart 3

Real Estate

Housing Permits Flattening Out

Permits for new home construction were mostly flat in April for San Antonio and the state (Chart 4). Year to date, growth in permits was 1.7 percent, compared with 2.2 percent for Texas. San Antonio home inventories remain lean at 3.3 months’ supply, well below the six months considered a balanced market.

Chart 4

Home Affordability Improves

San Antonio home affordability rose in first quarter 2018 as the percentage of homes sold that the median-income household could afford increased to 62.0 percent (Chart 5). This is roughly equivalent to the U.S. average of 61.6 percent. The median home price of $219,998 in March came in below the state and national figures, and existing-home sales reached an all-time high.

Chart 5

Stock Prices

Stock prices of companies with a significant presence in San Antonio surged 8.9 percent from April 24 to May 22, reaching an all-time high. This compares with a 3.4 percent increase in the S&P 500 over the same time (Chart 6). Growth continues to be led by energy-related firms, particularly refiners. Financial and manufacturing firms also saw healthy gains, while retailers and communications companies had 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 Christopher Slijk at San Antonio Economic Indicators is published every month on the Thursday after state and metro employment data are released.