While telecommunications, computers and other high-tech industries are woven into this region's economic fabric, the energy market still dominates much of the economy along the Gulf Coast. A recent Federal Reserve report said demand for petrochemical products was down, but that prices for diesel fuel, natural gas, heating oil and crude oil were increasing.

Layoffs in the telecom industry have rocked Dallas and San Antonio. When SBC Communications laid off several thousand workers in San Antonio at the end of last year, it also put nearly 200,000 square feet of office space onto the local market.

Texas' housing market remains strong, as Austin and Dallas continue to be among the nation's leaders in new housing starts. The state's office construction market is a mixed bag. Dallas is in the doldrums, with 29 percent downtown vacancy rates, but Houston has a 9 percent downtown vacancy rate.

ELECTRICAL WHOLESALERS' SALES
(in millions of dollars)
EW Estimates
Final 1998 Final 1999 Final 2000 Final 2001 Forecast 2002 Forecast 2003
West South Central 7,495.2 8,321.0 8,474.2 8,588.1 8,680.9 9,056.2
Arkansas 374.8 418.1 425.8 431.6 436.2 455.1
Louisiana 1,053.5 1,175.5 1,197.1 1,213.2 1,226.3 1,279.4
Oklahoma 499.9 587.6 598.4 606.5 613.0 639.5
Texas 5,567.0 6,139.7 6,252.7 6,336.8 6,405.3 6,682.2
EMPLOYMENT STATISTICS
Actual EC in thousands
M F/S/RT G
West South Central 99,459 1,590.5 7,378.6 2,462.4
Arkansas 5,786 229.0 547.7 194.0
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA 847 34.6 79.7 21.3
Fort Smith MSA 435 26.4 47.3 10.9
Little Rock-North Little Rock MSA 2,305 29.1 168.2 61.2
Pine Bluff MSA 177 7.1 15.4 8.2
Louisiana 16,934 177.2 987.8 378.3
Alexandria MSA 1,961 3.8 29.6 13.0
Baton Rouge MSA 5,551 24.3 157.7 59.8
Houma MSA 198 8.1 35.0 14.3
Lafayette MSA 1,591 12.5 87.2 23.7
Lake Charles MSA 441 10.4 43.2 13.9
Monroe MSA 812 8.2 41.5 13.2
New Orleans MSA 3,451 43.6 358.0 106.8
Shreveport-Bossier City MSA 730 16.2 98.8 32.5
Oklahoma 10,314 175.8 800.7 295.7
Enid MSA 111 2.5 12.9 3.9
Lawton MSA 175 3.8 20.1 11.6
Oklahoma City MSA 4,000 48.2 313.2 103.9
Tulsa MSA 3,476 56.8 225.1 43.5
Texas 66,341 1,008.5 5,042.4 1,594.4
Abilene MSA 400 3.0 32.5 9.4
Amarillo MSA 438 8.8 56.0 15.8
Austin-San Marcos MSA 5,534 70.4 357.8 144.3
Beaumont-Port Arthur MSA 2,068 21.9 80.8 27.0
Brazoria PMSA 1,060 13.8 31.7 15.0
Brownsville-Harlingen-San Benito MSA 675 10.9 60.5 26.9
Bryan-College Station MSA 509 5.2 33.8 26.9
Corpus Christi MSA 1,281 12.7 87.3 30.6
Dallas PMSA 15,820 232.6 1,130.7 226.9
El Paso MSA 771 32.3 123.5 58.4
Fort Worth-Arlington PMSA 6,081 105.6 418.4 102.2
Galveston-Texas City PMSA 553 7.4 44.8 26.4
Houston PMSA 17,299 212.0 1,140.3 267.2
Killeen-Temple MSA 486 8.8 54.7 28.9
Laredo MSA 216 1.4 34.6 17.0
Longview-Marshall MSA 477 15.7 47.5 12.0
Lubbock MSA 882 6.9 70.1 25.3
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA 569 10.3 89.5 43.7
Odessa-Midland MSA 722 7.0 50.1 17.7
San Angelo MSA 525 4.9 23.5 9.2
San Antonio MSA 4,423 52.8 436.8 133.7
Sherman-Denison MSA 771 7.4 24.3 6.0
Texarkana MSA 363 5.6 27.3 10.9
Tyler MSA 320 11.5 50.2 11.8
Victoria MSA 114 3.1 19.5 6.6
Waco MSA 475 14.0 53.7 17.2
Wichita Falls MSA 278 7.7 31.1 12.9