Te Houston Business-Cycle Index decelerated to a4.4 percent growth rate in November, implying a slow-ing expansion in the region. Energy-related activities,construction and international trade continue to propelgrowth. Regulatory uncertainty, the U.S. scal situationand stresses in the global economy cloud the horizon, butarea industry undamentals are rmer than they were inmuch o 2012.
Oil prices were mixed in December but remain relative-ly volatile. Continued pipeline bottlenecks in Cushing,Okla., are keeping the price o WI low compared withBrent, although the average price dierence ell to $21.70in December. Natural gas prices ticked up slightly romNovember to $3.41 per Mc. Fuel prices ell, due in partto seasonal actors and lower input costs. Diesel inven-tories remain relatively low, while the opposite is true orgasoline and jet uel stocks. Jet uel seasonal inventory isnear a 10-year high.
2012 is shaping up to be a banner year or Houstonemployment growth. Although it slowed in November,monthly employment growth averaged 3.7 percent overthe year. Construction, health care, and leisure and hos-pitality continued to lead growth in November.
Te Houston unemployment rate ell three-tenths o apercent to 6 percent in November as the local labor orcedeclined slightly. Te U.S. rate ell to 7.8 percent. TeConerence Board Help Wanted OnLine index or Hous-ton indicated that the number o job advertisements inthe area jumped 7 percent in December.
Economic ActivityEnergy PricesEmployment
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF DALLAS • JANUARY 2013
230240250260270280290300310320Nov-2008 Nov-2009 Nov-2010 Nov-2011 Nov-2012
3.28.513.3-1.72.00.09.34.13.4-7.71.5TotalConstruction & miningEducational & health servicesFinancial activitiesGovernmentInformationLeisure & hospitalityManufacturingOther servicesProfessional & business svcTrade, transp & utilities
Index, October 1980 = 100Percent change
Houston Business-Cycle IndexDecember Average Energy Spot PricesEmployment Growth
NOTE: Percent change; three-month moving-average, seasonally adjusted.*Henry Hub natural gas spot price.Gasoline$2.48/galDiesel$2.98/galJet uel$2.96/galHHNG*$3.41/McWTI$88.1/bblBrent$109.73/bbl