Texas service sector increases in December
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Retail sales in Texas remained strong, sparking growth throughout the state's service sector in December, according to a report released this week by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
The Austin American Statesman reported (http://bit.ly/1bAGbS9 ) Wednesday that an analysis released Tuesday found that the state's revenue index — a key measure of activity in Texas private service-providing industries — increased to 16.0 during the month.
That's its highest point since September 2012, according to the monthly Texas Service Sector Outlook Survey.
The index was up from an 11.4 reading in November, suggesting that the sector's revenue growth had accelerated.
Despite rising retail sales, however, the pace of growth fell some in December. The state retail sales index dipped to 15.2 during the month, down from 20.3 in November.
The Dallas Fed says Texas' private service sector growth was spurred by a hiring increase and longer work weeks during December. The state's private sector has now expanded every month since October 2009.
Private, service-sector companies provide around two-thirds of all nonfarm jobs statewide, the Texas Workforce Commission says. The Dallas Fed reports that's about 60 percent of the state's economy.
In a similar report released Monday, the Dallas Fed also found that Texas' manufacturing sector reported another month of growing production and optimism.
Both were consistent with a rebound in consumer confidence across the country. The national Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 78.1 in December from 72.0 in November, according to the Conference Board.
The Dallas Fed also said that the rise in service sector activity to cap 2013 appeared to spur 2014 outlooks as well. Across all private service industries, both current and future business outlooks improved in December, it said.
Retailers reported a slightly less optimistic view of general business conditions but noted higher expectations for their own, company-specific prospects.
Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com