The Permian Basin labor market remained stable with a declining unemployment rate in April according to a report out from the Dallas Fed today (Thursday).
Total non-farm employment in the Basin inched up by 200 jobs from March to April and settled at 158,200 – According to the report – with employment remaining around 158,000 since February.
The Midland unemployment rate ticked down from 4.9 percent in March to 4.4 percent in April, and the Fed says although Odessa’s unemployment rate remains higher than Midland’s, its 5.2 percent is the lowest it’s been since September 2015.
One factor seen consistently in these economic statistics from the Fed are noticeable upticks in the housing market of the Basin – The report says the six-month moving average for home sales has risen sharply since the beginning of 2017 until settling at 336 sales in April – A 26 percent increase since December 2016. Other housing variables are showing strength as well, such as single-family housing permits climbing 21 percent since December 2016.
Like many things in the basin these are mostly a result of the oil and gas industry.
The average price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell to $48.51 in May from $51.08 in April, according to the report.
The average price for May was still $2.51 above the $46 Permian Basin breakeven price for drilling a new well, which was reported in a Dallas Fed Energy Survey from the first-quarter of this year.