Even though many of the challenges and uncertainties that defined 2020 are still with us, we start 2021 with cautious optimism because in December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorization for two different vaccines for the prevention of COVID-19. As a greater share of the population is vaccinated, the robustness and pace of the economic recovery will follow as we return to public spaces like offices and restaurants in greater numbers.
There is also hope in broader macroeconomic trends. During the pandemic, Americans trimmed back spending on discretionary purchases with the personal savings rate peaking in April at 33.7% and now 12.9% in November, well above the rate of 7.5% in 2019. This means many households have reserves to boost their spending once they have confidence the pandemic is over. This coupled with a low interest rate environment and the recent passage of the $900 billion pandemic relief package, mean the economy is poised for a sharp and sustained rebound.
The road to a full recovery is long, but Dallas continues to outpace the other major metros around the country. Though the metroplex is down 123.1 thousand jobs in seasonally adjusted terms from February through November, employment in office related sectors has actually increased by 17.7 thousand jobs during that same period. Forecasts by Moody’s Analytics call for job losses to slow in the first half of the year and pivot to sustained growth with the net effect of adding a robust 156 thousand jobs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area in 2021.
One thing helping to bolster the recovery is that Texas is increasingly seen as an attractive destination for corporate relocations. Announcements this year by Charles Schwab and CBRE draw corporate headquarters away from California and into the Metroplex as companies seek out the business-friendly environment and deep pool of talent as borne out by Texas leading the country in population growth adding an estimated 373,965 new residents in 2020.