Dallas-Fort Worth employment continues to grow, but wage growth is nothing to write home about. The Texas unemployment rate (at least the statistically massaged headline unemployment rate) hit an historic low in October at 3.7 percent. Dallas Fort Worth job growth was still impressive through October according to the latest data from the Texas Workforce Commission. According to the latest numbers there were 3,803,500 people working in the DFW area bringing the unemployment rate for Dallas to 3.2 percent.
According to the latest data, Texas has experienced 28 consecutive months of employment growth. This is great news for the Dallas area. What is concerning is that wage growth for DFW employees is still barely keeping up with official/understated inflation. Weekly wage growth through the second quarter of 2018 shows average income gains of 3.4 percent for DFW workers. The recent uptick in wage growth is certainly welcome, but that means the average Dallas-Fort Worth worker is probably seeing at least half of their yearly pay increase washed away by higher premiums and costs for health care. Even with the recent softness in the housing sector, home price increases in the lower price tiers are still well above 4 percent and double that in many submarkets.
It’s no surprise really why a large percentage of the U.S. population feels like they are spinning their wheels…because they are!
“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” Alice – Through The Looking Glass
Jerome Powell visited the Dallas Fed to tout the solid state of the U.S. economy. For Powell and his PhD economists serving those 12 Federal Reserve branches, the employment picture probably looks fairly robust. For the vast majority of Americans, not so much. This is a feature, not a bug, of the current economic system. It should come as no surprise that in a financial and economic system run by elite Wall Street bankers, they are now raising interest rates to slow the economy down…just as workers start to enjoy the slightest bit of wage growth that might help them keep their heads above water.
Wage growth in the DFW area doesn’t come close to the impressive ramp in home prices seen in Dallas Fort Worth during the last 5 years.