Dallas-Fort Worth Economic Indicators
June 30, 2022
Robust expansion continued in the Dallas–Fort Worth economy in May. Payroll employment grew at a rapid clip, bolstering growth in the Dallas and Fort Worth business-cycle indexes. Apartment demand was positive in May, buoyed by job and population growth in the metroplex. Multifamily permit issuance dipped but remained high. Home prices climbed further in April.
Employment Growth Still Robust
DFW employment rose an annualized 8.3 percent (27,000 jobs) in May. Employment levels expanded 8.0 percent (18,800) in the Dallas–Plano–Irving metro division and 9.0 percent (8,200) in Fort Worth–Arlington. More than two years from the onset of the pandemic, DFW employment exceeds the February 2020 peak by 6.3 percent (243,500 jobs). Employment in the Dallas–Plano–Irving metro division was 7.6 percent (207,600) above prepandemic levels, and the Fort Worth–Arlington division’s employment was 3.2 percent (35,900) higher than prepandemic levels (Chart 1). Payrolls in Texas were 2.9 percent above their prepandemic high.
Jobs in Most Sectors Have Fully Recovered
As of May, nearly all major sectors in DFW have regained the jobs lost in the wake of the pandemic in spring 2020. In the service sector, payrolls in professional and business services, financial activities, and trade, transportation and utilities are up by more than 10 percent from their prepandemic high, with growth in the latter fueled by strong e-commerce activity (Chart 2). Employment in the hardest-hit sector, leisure and hospitality, had also recouped fully in May; however, employment in the other services sector lagged. Overall, job gains in the goods sector have been more measured than in the service sector, with employment in May up 3.0 percent from February 2020 levels compared with an increase of 6.8 percent for services. In May, manufacturing payrolls were 3.3 percent higher than their February 2020 peaks, and construction and mining payrolls were 2.7 percent higher than that period.
The Dallas and Fort Worth business-cycle indexes continued to expand in May, buoyed by sustained solid job growth. The Dallas index climbed an annualized 10.5 percent—marking the 24th straight month of growth—and was up 15.2 percent from its prepandemic peak (Chart 3). The Fort Worth index rose an annualized 7.6 percent, surpassing its prepandemic high by 6.0 percent.
Home Prices Rise Strongly in April
Home prices in DFW rose at a rapid 2.5 percent in April, according to the Case-Shiller House Price Index. U.S. prices similarly saw rapid increases of 1.8 percent in April. Year over year, prices were up 31 percent in Dallas and 21 percent in the U.S. (Chart 4). Moreover, the real median sales price in April reached an all-time high of $436,700 in Dallas and $369,300 in Fort Worth.
Apartment Market Remains Solid
DFW apartment absorption remained positive, keeping occupancy stable at elevated levels and further pushing up rents, according to ApartmentData.com. A total of 1,150 units were absorbed in April and May. Average monthly rents in DFW increased to $1,475 per unit in May, up 18.5 percent year over year, and occupancy held steady at 93.2 percent—up 1.7 percentage points from May 2021 (Chart 5).
Multifamily Construction High
Multifamily permit issuance, which leads apartment construction, fell in May, though the three-month average edged up (Chart 6). In the first five months of the year, DFW multifamily permits were 6.8 percent higher than the same period in 2021. Statewide, multifamily permits were up 22.8 percent over this period, supported in part by a surge in apartment construction in other parts of the state including Austin, Houston and San Antonio. DFW remains one of the busiest markets in apartment building among large U.S. metros, with construction being supported by strong demand growth.
NOTE: Data may not match previously published numbers due to revisions.
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Questions can be addressed to Laila Assanie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dallas–Fort Worth Economic Indicators is published every month after state and metro employment data are released.