Forecast Appendix
Forecast Definitions

Indicator Definitions

Real Gross Product: Also called “output"; the final value of all goods and services produced in an economy during a given period of time (adjusted for inflation and given in 2012 dollars).

Personal Income (by place of residence): The total income accruing to households where the income-earner resides rather than works (adjusted for inflation and given in 2012 dollars).

Retail Sales: The total volume of retail goods sold (adjusted for inflation and given in 2012 dollars).

Population: The total number of persons residing in a specific area.

Wage and Salary Employment: A measure of the number of persons in the workforce excluding proprietors, but including agricultural workers and military personnel.

Housing Permits: Reflects the total number of permits for single and multi-family housing during a given period.

Annual Growth: Growth rate compounded annually, meaning that it reflects changes in the base from which growth is calculated.

Industrial Production Index: A measure of output in the core production sectors of the economy expressed as an index with 2012=100.

Consumer Price Index: A measure of inflation, the escalation of prices of consumer goods, expressed as an index with 2012=100.

Interest Rates: The rate set on the 20-year Treasury note.

Industry Definitions

Agriculture includes farming, ranching, commercial fishing, forestry, hunting and trapping, and related services.

Mining includes companies primarily involved in the extraction of minerals occurring naturally (largely oil and gas in Texas).

Construction includes new work, additions, alterations, and repairs of buildings, water systems, highways, utility plants, and other projects.

Utilities includes electric, water, and sanitary services (including all establishments of the US Postal Service).

Manufacturing involves both non-durable items consumed in a short time period such as paper, bread, chemicals, and clothing as well as durable goods typically consumed over a period of several years such as automobiles, washing machines, industrial machinery, and computers.

Trade includes wholesale and retail trade.

Transportation & Warehousing includes transporting passengers and goods, warehousing and storing goods, and providing similar services.

Information includes establishments that create, disseminate, or provide the means to distribute information including data processing; newspaper, book, and periodical publishers; software publishers; broadcasting and telecommunications producers and distributors; motion picture and sound recording industries; and information services.

Finance, Insurance, & Real Estate includes depository and credit institutions, holding companies, insurance carriers and agents, real estate buyers and sellers, real estate agents, and real estate developers.

Other Services includes companies providing services to individuals, businesses, or government entities such as health care, business services (excluding finance, insurance, and real estate), hotels, and amusements.

Government includes federal, state, local, and international governments and military activity.

Forecast Methodology
US Multi-Regional Econometric Model

The US Multi-Regional Econometric Model was developed by Dr. M. Ray Perryman, President and CEO of The Perryman Group (TPG), about 40 years ago and has been consistently maintained, expanded, and updated since that time. It is formulated in an internally consistent manner and is designed to permit the integration of relevant global, national, state, and local factors into the projection process. It is the result of four decades of continuing research in econometrics, economic theory, statistical methods, and key policy issues and behavioral patterns, as well as intensive, ongoing study of all aspects of the global, US, state, and metropolitan area economies. It is extensively used by scores of federal and State governmental entities on an ongoing basis, as well as hundreds of major corporations. It can be integrated with The Perryman Group's other models and systems to provide dynamic projections.

This section describes the forecasting process in a comprehensive manner, focusing on both the modeling and the supplemental analysis. The overall methodology, while certainly not ensuring perfect foresight, permits an enormous body of relevant information to impact the economic outlook in a systematic manner.

Model Logic and Structure

The Model revolves around a core system which projects output (real and nominal), income (real and nominal), and employment by industry in a simultaneous manner. For purposes of illustration, it is useful to initially consider the employment functions. Essentially, employment within the system is a derived demand relationship obtained from a neo-Classical production function. The expressions are augmented to include dynamic temporal adjustments to changes in relative factor input costs, output and (implicitly) productivity, and technological progress over time. Thus, the typical equation includes output, the relative real cost of labor and capital, dynamic lag structures, and a technological adjustment parameter. The functional form is logarithmic, thus preserving the theoretical consistency with the neo-Classical formulation.

The income segment of the model is divided into wage and non-wage components. The wage equations, like their employment counterparts, are individually estimated at the 3-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) level of aggregation. Hence, income by place of work is measured for approximately 90 production categories. The wage equations measure real compensation, with the form of the variable structure differing between "basic" and "non-basic."

The basic industries, comprised primarily of the various components of Mining, Agriculture, and Manufacturing, are export-oriented, i.e., they bring external dollars into the area and form the core of the economy. The production of these sectors typically flows into national and international markets; hence, the labor markets are influenced by conditions in areas beyond the borders of the particular region. Thus, real (inflation-adjusted) wages in the basic industry are expressed as a function of the corresponding national rates, as well as measures of local labor market conditions (the reciprocal of the unemployment rate), dynamic adjustment parameters, and ongoing trends.

The "non-basic" sectors are somewhat different in nature, as the strength of their labor markets is linked to the health of the local export sectors. Consequently, wages in these industries are related to those in the basic segment of the economy. The relationship also includes the local labor market measures contained in the basic wage equations.

Note that compensation rates in the export or "basic" sectors provide a key element of the interaction of the regional economies with national and international market phenomena, while the "non-basic" or local industries are strongly impacted by area production levels. Given the wage and employment equations, multiplicative identities in each industry provide expressions for total compensation; these totals may then be aggregated to determine aggregate wage and salary income. Simple linkage equations are then estimated for the calculation of personal income by place of work.

The non-labor aspects of personal income are modeled at the regional level using straightforward empirical expressions relating to national performance, dynamic responses, and evolving temporal patterns. In some instances (such as dividends, rents, and others) national variables (for example, interest rates) directly enter the forecasting system. These factors have numerous other implicit linkages into the system resulting from their simultaneous interaction with other phenomena in national and international markets which are explicitly included in various expressions.

The output or gross area product expressions are also developed at the 3-digit NAICS level. Regional output for basic industries is linked to national performance in the relevant industries, local and national production in key related sectors, relative area and national labor costs in the industry, dynamic adjustment parameters, and ongoing changes in industrial interrelationships (driven by technological changes in production processes).

Output in the non-basic sectors is modeled as a function of basic production levels, output in related local support industries (if applicable), dynamic temporal adjustments, and ongoing patterns. The inter-industry linkages are obtained from the input-output (impact assessment) system which is part of the overall integrated modeling structure maintained by The Perryman Group. Note that the dominant component of the econometric system involves the simultaneous estimation and projection of output (real and nominal), income (real and nominal), and employment at a disaggregated industrial level. This process, of necessity, also produces projections of regional price deflators by industry. These values are affected by both national pricing patterns and local cost variations and permit changes in prices to impact other aspects of economic behavior. Income is converted from real to nominal terms using the relevant state's Consumer Price Index, which fluctuates in response to national pricing patterns and unique local phenomena.

Several other components of the model are critical to the forecasting process. The demographic module includes (1) a linkage equation between wage and salary (establishment) employment and household employment, (2) a labor force participation rate function, and (3) a complete population system with endogenous migration. Given household employment, labor force participation (which is a function of economic conditions and evolving patterns of worker preferences), and the working age population, the unemployment rate and level become identities.

The population system uses Census information, fertility rates, and life tables to determine the "natural" changes in population by age group. Migration, the most difficult segment of population dynamics to track, is estimated in relation to relative regional and extra-regional economic conditions over time. Because evolving economic conditions determine migration in the system, population changes are allowed to interact simultaneously with overall economic conditions. Through this process, migration is treated as endogenous to the system, thus allowing population to vary in accordance with relative business performance (particularly employment).

Real retail sales is related to income, interest rates, dynamic adjustments, and patterns in consumer behavior on a store group basis. It is expressed on an inflation-adjusted basis. Inflation at the state level relates to national patterns, indicators of relative economic conditions, and ongoing trends. As noted earlier, prices are endogenous to the system.

A final significant segment of the forecasting system relates to real estate absorption and activity. The short-term demand for various types of property is determined by underlying economic and demographic factors, with short-term adjustments to reflect the current status of the pertinent building cycle. In some instances, this portion of the forecast requires integration with the US Multi-Regional Industry-Occupation System which is maintained by The Perryman Group. This system also allows any employment simulation or forecast from the econometric model to be translated into a highly detailed occupational profile.

The overall US Multi-Regional Econometric Model contains numerous additional specifications, and individual expressions are modified to reflect alternative lag structures, empirical properties of the estimates, simulation requirements, and similar phenomena. Moreover, it is updated on an ongoing basis as new data releases become available. Nonetheless, the above synopsis offers a basic understanding of the overall structure and underlying logic of the system.

Model Simulation and Multi-Regional Structure

The initial phase of the simulation process is the execution of a standard non-linear algorithm for the state system and that of each of the individual sub-areas. The external assumptions are derived from scenarios developed through national and international models and extensive analysis by The Perryman Group.

Once the initial simulations are completed, they are merged into a single system with additive constraints and interregional flows. Using information on minimum regional requirements, import needs, export potential, and locations, it becomes possible to balance the various forecasts into a mathematically consistent set of results. This process is, in effect, a disciplining exercise with regard to the individual regional (including metropolitan and rural) systems. By compelling equilibrium across all regions and sectors, the algorithm ensures that the patterns in state activity are reasonable in light of smaller area dynamics and, conversely, that the regional outlooks are within plausible performance levels for the state as a whole.

The iterative simulation process has the additional property of imposing a global convergence criterion across the entire multi-regional system, with balance being achieved simultaneously on both a sectoral and a geographic basis. This approach is particularly critical on non-linear dynamic systems, as independent simulations of individual systems often yield unstable, non-convergent outcomes.

It should be noted that the underlying data for the modeling and simulation process are frequently updated and revised by the various public and private entities compiling them. Whenever those modifications to the database occur, they bring corresponding changes to the structural parameter estimates of the various systems and the solutions to the simulation and forecasting system. The multi-regional version of the Texas Econometric Model is re-estimated and simulated with each such data release, thus providing a constantly evolving and current assessment of state and local business activity.

The Final Forecast

The process described above is followed to produce an initial set of projections. Through the comprehensive multi-regional modeling and simulation process, a systematic analysis is generated which accounts for both historical patterns in economic performance and inter-relationships and best available information on the future course of pertinent external factors. While the best available techniques and data are employed in this effort, they are not capable of directly capturing "street sense," i.e., the contemporaneous and often non-quantifiable information that can materially affect economic outcomes. In order to provide a comprehensive approach to the prediction of business conditions, it is necessary to compile and assimilate extensive material regarding current events and factors both across the state of Texas and elsewhere.

This critical aspect of the forecasting methodology includes activities such as (1) daily review of hundreds of financial and business publications and electronic information sites; (2) review of all major newspapers and online news sources in the state on a daily basis; (3) dozens of hours of direct telephone interviews with key business and political leaders in all parts of the state; (4) face-to-face discussions with representatives of major industry groups; and (5) frequent site visits to the various regions of the state. The insights arising from this "fact finding" are analyzed and evaluated for their effects on the likely course of the future activity.

Another vital information resource stems from the firm’s ongoing interaction with key players in the international, domestic, and state economic scenes. Such activities include visiting with corporate groups on a regular basis and being regularly involved in the policy process at all levels. The firm is also an active participant in many major corporate relocations, economic development initiatives, and regulatory proceedings.

Once organized, this information is carefully assessed and, when appropriate, independently verified. The impact on specific communities and sectors that is distinct from what is captured by the econometric system is then factored into the forecast analysis. For example, the opening or closing of a major facility, particularly in a relatively small area, can cause a sudden change in business performance that will not be accounted for by either a modeling system based on historical relationships or expected (primarily national and international) factors.

The final step in the forecasting process is the integration of this material into the results in a logical and mathematically consistent manner. In some instances, this task is accomplished through "constant adjustment factors" which augment relevant equations. In other cases, anticipated changes in industrial structure or regulatory parameters are initially simulated within the context of the Multi-Regional Impact Assessment System to estimate their ultimate effects by sector. Those findings are then factored into the simulation as constant adjustments on a distributed temporal basis. Once this scenario is formulated, the extended system is again balanced across regions and sectors through an iterative simulation algorithm analogous to that described in the preceding section.