Chip Gilmour's Five Takeaways from July Economic Index
- Buying a home in Lubbock is a good investment. The average home price grew from $166,000 last July to $191,000 this July – an increase of almost 15 percent. “Two-to-three percent would be average,” said Gilmour. “If you are renting or leasing, owning a home is a good investment if you can afford it.”
- Lubbock’s 3.4 unemployment rate is another sign of a healthy economy. “We’re number three behind Amarillo and Round Rock,” he said. “It shows we’re growing and continuing to grow at a steady pace and don’t worry about booms and busts” seen in other areas of Texas.
- Lubbock still needs more people with skills for the manufacturing sector. Gilmour believes a lot of Lubbock’s job growth is in the medical sector, but said manufacturing also continues to grow. The challenge for manufacturing is having a skilled labor force – welders, for example. “Lubbock needs to step up and take advantage,” he said. People who are looking for a job or career change or young people who may not want to pursue a four-year college degree can still find good careers by learning skills like welding.
- Cotton comeback? Cotton prices were up almost 13 percent over last July and the number of bales was roughly double that. Gilmour said that’s significant growth, but recognizes farmers are still not happy with a price of $67.45 a pound, even if it’s up from just under $60 a year ago. “It’s still well below what they’re used to,” he said, but it’s hopefully a step in the right direction.
- July’s Index at 146.7 set another record, besting June’s 146.6 – another indication of Lubbock’s healthy economy.
Lubbock National Bank Senior Vice President Chip Gilmour briefs local media each month on the report.
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