Texas housing starts rise 24.2% in September
September housing starts in Texas jumped 24.2% from the same month a year earlier, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said Wednesday. The bank released its Texas Economic Indicators report for September, which shows housing starts up 13.4% month-over-month after experiencing a 0.5% decline in August. As housing starts grew in September, existing home sales fell 2.1% from August, while remaining 11.8% higher than levels recorded in September of 2010. On average, it still takes about 7.1 months to sell an existing home in the Lone Star State, the Fed Bank said. Texas gained only 800 jobs in September, down from 4,400 positions in August. The Fed Bank said the addition of 24,000 Texas jobs in September was negatively offset by government layoffs, which impacted 23,200 public positions. To date, Texas has an unemployment rate of 8.5%, compared to a national unemployment rate of 9.1%. The Dallas Fed Bank Texas Leading Index, which forecasts economic activity, fell 2.7% from the period stretching from June to August, suggesting Texas is experiencing a slow down in terms of economic growth. Write to Kerri Panchuk.