North Texas employment continued to outpace the national average. Payroll employment in North Texas increased 3.3 percent year over year in Q2, which was faster than the U.S. national average of 1.6 percent. The unemployment rate in the region of 6.2 percent in Q2 was well below the national average of 7.6 percent. The Dallas Federal Reserve’s surveys of Texas business executives reported positive growth in manufacturing, retail sales and the service sector in August, indicating a positive outlook for payroll employment in Q3.
There is mixed news for defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The contractor, which employs more than 17,000 in its Fort Worth and Grand Prairie locations, is facing uncertainty due to the federal budget sequestration. The company estimates the spending cuts from sequestration could reduce net sales by up to $825 million for 2013. Although net sales decreased by 4 percent from a year ago in Q2, net earnings increased by 10 percent from $781 million in 2012Q2 to $859 million in 2013Q2. Lockheed Martin recently announced it will embark on a joint venture with Sikorsky Aircraft to bid on the new Marine One contract which includes 21 new presidential helicopters.
The Justice Department’s anti-trust lawsuit to stop the merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways is creating uncertainty for AMR Corp. The trial date has been fast-tracked to November 25 instead of the Justice Department’s March request. The Fort Worth based parent company of American Airlines is also currently awaiting a decision from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan on whether the merger can be used as part of an exit strategy from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Judge Sean Lane, of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, delayed approval of the bankruptcy restructuring plan until after the next hearing on September 12.
Click here for the complete North Texas MSA Regional Economic Update: NorthTexas 2013Q2.