Monthly report about Lubbock economy is repetitious, but that’s a good thing
It may sound like a broken record, but the Lubbock economy keeps singing a fine song.
Even though retail sales, some construction/real estate numbers dipped a bit and job growth has slowed, the Lubbock Economic Index rose a half point in April to 149, three-tenths below its record high in December and up 2.1 percent from April of last year.
“It’s like you’re making more money than you ever have before and a small piece of it drops – but overall it’s still awesome,” said Lubbock National Bank’s Chip Gilmour, who offered these four takeaways from the report.
- The jobless rate fell to 3.2 percent from 4 percent in March, but 0.2 percent above last April. Jobs grew 0.8 percent in April over the previous April, below 2016’s average of 2.5 percent growth.
- Retail sales slipped 1.9 percent over last April. “Retail sales were off 2 percent all last year,” said Gilmour. “Consumers are gaining a little more confidence, but there are still lots of question marks – like health care. Wouldn’t it be great if Congress could do some things and stop beating each other up?”
- Construction showed ups and downs, but the numbers are still hovering around historic highs. For instance, compared to April of 2016:
- Value of all construction permits were down 9.1 percent.
- Number of home sales fell 20.7 percent.
- Average home sale price dropped 0.2 percent.
- Dollar volume of residential real estate sales were down 22.5 percent.
But new home permits were up 24.7 percent and up 44.4 percent year to date. As those homes are built, it should spark the other numbers that saw dips in April.
- Oil and cotton continued to move up, which boosts to West Texas economy. Oil rose to $47 a barrel in April, up from $45.50 in March and up more than 25 percent over April a year ago. Cotton continued to rise, up to $74.76 in April, almost 33 percent above last April.
Lubbock National Bank Senior Vice President Chip Gilmour briefs local media each month on the report.
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