Even Oil Price Drop Can't Derail Texas
“A funny thing has happened to the economic miracle in Texas that liberals predicted would go bust along with oil prices,” writes The Wall Street Journal editorial board. “America’s foremost state job creator of the past decade continues to produce opportunity and employment. Last week’s ‘beige book’ release from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas shows that despite the struggling oil and gas industry, the Texas economy is still enjoying moderate growth. Since prices in the oil patch began sliding a year ago, pundits on the political left have been waiting for evidence to declare the Texas model a failure. They’re still waiting. Last month the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that in 2014 the Texas economy grew by a sizzling 5.2%, second fastest in the country after North Dakota’s 6.3% and more than twice the U.S. average. That followed 5.5% growth in 2013 and 6.2% in 2012. And 2014 was the year oil prices fell to $53 a barrel in December from more than $107 in June. The Texas rig count in May was down 58% from a year ago. Liberal Governors, tired of looking bad next to Texas, may have hoped to catch a break as the full impact of cheap oil hit the Lone Star State in 2015. And Texas is creating jobs more slowly this year—1.1% growth through May versus 3.6% in the same period last year. Lower-paying positions in hospitality have substituted for higher-paying energy jobs. But the overall economic resilience is a far cry from the Texas recessions that followed previous oil busts. Unemployment in the state, 4.3% in May, was still well below the national average of 5.5% that month.”
California, New York and Illinois hardest hit.