West South Central Regional Forecast
Arkansas • Louisiana • Oklahoma • Texas
Although the region's oil and energy industries were hit hard in the recession, compared to some other regions of the United States, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma and Texas weathered the economic storm fairly well. As home to several of the homebuilding industry's hot spots during the go-go years, Texas' residential market took a tumble with the rest of the nation. But the largest markets in the state for home-builders — Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio — never crashed as deeply as other boom markets and don't have as far to climb back to respectability. Office vacancy rates are still high in Dallas/Fort Worth and San Antonio but Houston's office vacancy rate is just 11.9% through 3Q 2009. Texas has several large hospital and industrial projects underway, and in Arkansas' Ozarks and in neighboring Missouri, there's some big electrical projects on the books at the Bull Shoals and Norfork Dams, Mountain Home, Ark.; and Table Rock Dam, Branson, Mo., courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers and funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.