Cross Timbers Business Report, Volume 8, Number 3, Spring 1994 Page: 3
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Texas Farm Prices Decline
Prices received by Texas farmers and ranchers de-
clined between April 1993 and April 1994, as crop price
advances were offset by livestock price declines. The U.S.
farm price index was steady over this span, but an increase
in prices paid by farmers weakened the farm product
purchasing power ratio.
The index of prices received by Texas farmers and
ranchers declined by 1.8 percent over the past year, from
167 percent of the 1977 average in April, 1993 to 164
percent this April.
Over this span, the crop price index rose from 114 to
121, reflecting price increases for all major items. The
livestock and product price index fell from 209 last April
to 200 this year. This decline reflects lower prices for beef
cattle, hogs, and lambs and higher sheep and milk costs.
Over thepastyear, the U.S. farm price index remained
at 146 percent of the 1977 average, while the index of
prices paid by farmers rose from 196 to 200. These
divergent trends imply a weakening of the purchasing
power of U.S. farm products.
Farm price data are collected and published monthly
by the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service. These data
are not adjusted for normal seasonal variations.
INDEX VALUES OF PRICES RECEIVED
All Texas Farmers and Ranchers
Livestock & Prods.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr
Source: Texas Agricultural Statistics Service
Interest Rates Advance
Approximately six months ago, it became evident that
the Federal Reserve no longer needed to keep interest rates
low to accommodate economic recovery. Consequently,
this institution raised its short term interest rate targets, and
allowed these rates to gradually rise. Longer term rates
soon followed this lead, and, as a result, the overall interest
rate level has risen to its highest level in almost two years.
The three month Treasury bill rate rose from 3.1
percent in November, 1993 to 3.7 percent in April of this
year. The latter rate compares to a 2.9 percent rate last
April, and is currently at its highest level since June, 1992.
In March, the prime rate which banks charge their lowest
risk corporate borrowers moved from 6 percent where it
had been since July, 1992 to 6.1 percent. This rate
advanced again to an average of 6.5 percent in April. The
Aaa corporate bond rate advanced by almost a full percent-
age point over the past six months, from 6.9 percent in
Averages of Daily Rates
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr
Source: Federal Reserve System
November to 7.8 percent in April.
The Federal Reserve and other agencies collect and
publish interest rate statistics on a regular basis. These
figures are some of the most closely followed economic
indicators available because the often indicate the direc-
tion of economic policy.
Healthy Job Markets
Healthy employment growth in all major sectors
pushed the U.S. and Texas unemployment rates signifi-
candy lower over the past year. These figures complement
favorable output and inflation data to present a picture of
generally robust economies.
The U.S. unemployment rate declined from 6.7 per-
cent in January of this year to 6.4 percent in April. The
average of these rates is one half percentage point below
the 7 percent mean for the same four months in 1993.
Labor market analysts are encouraged by the fact that this
downward movement resulted from increased hiring in
most major market areas, and see these lower rates as
indicators of increased economic welfare for job seekers.
The Texas jobless rate moved up from 6 percent in
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Tarleton State University. Department of Social Sciences. Cross Timbers Business Report, Volume 8, Number 3, Spring 1994, periodical, Spring 1994; Stephenville, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth298202/m1/3/: accessed December 11, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Tarleton State University.