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San Antonio Returns To Pre-Recession Job Growth In March Economic Report

The SABÉR Research Institute
The unemployment rate decreased to 5.3% in January, which is right at the average unemployment since 1990.

The San Antonio Economic Outlook for 2014 that came out Friday shows more optimism than caution for the next year.

San Antonio’s employment growth is back on track following the recession, thanks to the recovery of some key local industries. More people are getting back to work in certain industries like construction, hospitality, retail, government and health services.  

Dr. Steve Nivin, chief economist and director of the SABÉR Research Institute at St. Mary’s University, and Dr. Keith Phillips, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, presented the annual economic outlook to the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“So last year actually ended up pretty well in San Antonio," Nivin said. "We ended up with employment growth of about 2.25 percent and the unemployment rate ended up at 5.3 percent."

That 5.3 percent unemployment rate is the lowest in Texas but for Austin, where Nivin said the IT sector provided more jobs.

Nivin said all of the job sectors in San Antonio have shown growth over the last year except manufacturing. But he predicts the health and finance sectors will have to work through some variables before they see steady growth return.

“I think there’s still some transition going on," Nivin said. "They really don’t know yet with how Obamacare is going to be implemented. There are still a lot of regulations and the implementation of the regulations on the financial side. I’m not saying they’re not going to grow, I’m just saying those are some pretty big issues those industries are going to have to deal with.”

Nivin said housing in San Antonio is strong, but with only six months of inventory, he expects new construction to begin this year that could level out the supply.

View the slides from the report presentation below:

SABÉR Economic Forecast for San Antonio March 2014