Economic Indicators of the College Station-Bryan MSA, April 2020

Authors: PERC Date: April 2020

Data on initial unemployment claims indicate that Texas lost almost 8% of its nonfarm employment in the last four weeks. Nationally, the 22 million in new unemployment claims in the last four weeks is equivalent to 14.5% of the country’s nonfarm employment. The price of oil has fallen in the past month by well over 50%, and approved drilling permits in Texas fell by 18.5% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019. Highway traffic in Texas in March steadily decreased relative to the last week of February. Air travel out of Easterwood Airport was down 43% in March 2020 compared to March 2019. The unemployment rate remained at 2.7% in College Station-Bryan for the month of February, the latest available data point, but that was before the shelter-in-place orders went into effect. The local unemployment rate — as well as the state and the national unemployment rate — is expected to rise in March, and to rise precipitously in April. The Business Cycle-Index remained virtually unchanged from its revised January level, experiencing a very slight increase in the month of February. But again, this was measured prior to the March shelter-in-place orders and restrictions on business operations.

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Keywords: Economic Indicators of the College Station-Bryan MSA,April 2020, coronavirus, Covid-19, oil prices, unemployment claims