San Antonio economy tops among Texas' big cities
Texas and San Antonio are leading the nation back to economic health after the recession, Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce officials said Thursday while releasing an economic trends report through the first quarter.
Texas’ recovery has been the strongest among large states and is second only to Utah nationally, said Travis Tullos, a regional economist who compiles the quarterly studies. San Antonio, meanwhile, recorded the highest score of Texas’ five largest cities on an index that evaluates sales tax revenues, job growth, housing permits and other factors to assess overall economic health.
A six-month average of San Antonio’s sales taxes through March increased by 5.8 percent from a year earlier; its consumer confidence index jumped by 4.4 percent; and its key jobs count rose by 1.1 percent.
While new-home prices on a square-foot basis also increased in San Antonio through March, average values for single-family residential permits fell by almost 33 percent from a year earlier and residential permit valuations fell by almost 20 percent, the report said.
Chamber Chairman Sam Dawson said that after a period in which San Antonio business activity was “walking in place” or retreating, it now was moving forward “with confidence.”
“I believe we can now say that the worst of the great recession is behind us here in San Antonio, and we are moving forward in great shape,” Chamber President Richard Perez said in an introduction to the report.
The study said that while the nation’s economic fundamentals had improved, “they remain fragile and under stress from a number of threats.” The biggest concerns are rising commodity prices and the dispute over the federal budget.
Still, Tullos said 75 percent of the nation’s metropolitan areas are exhibiting evidence of a turnaround, some in impressive fashion. Job creation has improved, but small businesses have to hire more for those numbers to be considered strong, he said.