Spending flat, construction booms in Lubbock early this year

Despite flat spending in early 2017, Lubbock National Bank Senior Vice President Chip Gilmour says the Hub City’s economy is starting the year off to a healthy start.

 

The bank reported results from its monthly Lubbock Economic Index this week, showing increased February numbers in construction, agriculture and oil helped contribute to overall growth in the Lubbock economy.

The index remained unchanged from January to February this year at 149.0. But, it did increase 3.3 percent in February of this year compared to last February’s index of 144.3.

“Lubbock is in a very fortunate situation from a locality (standpoint). … Of course we have Amarillo to the north and Midland/Odessa to the south, but we’re right smack in the middle of all the activity in West Texas,” Gilmour said. “I know some of the companies which were struggling a year ago in the manufacturing sector of our economy, their business has really started to pick up and that’s what we want to see happen, so our economy is very healthy, very strong. It looks like it should continue and remain strong throughout the year.”

Homes

New home construction permits were up 56.5 percent in February, compared to February 2016.

There were 133 new home permits issued in February this year compared to 85 the previous year. So far this year, at least 244 permits have been issued.

The number of home sales in February, however, was down slightly by 5.4 percent, and the average home sale price remained the same as it was last February at $174,527.

“It’s a little bit early in the year to make any predictions on what’s going to happen there,”Gilmour said. “I did notice the value of a home remained steady.”

Construction

Construction permits and building activity showed healthy increases, Gilmour said.

“That’s the big item in the entire economy,” he said.

A little over $67.3 million in construction permits were issued in February, which is up 32.6 percent from last year’s valuation of nearly $50.8 million permits issued in February 2016. January and February of this year had a combined total of $155 million in construction permits.

Unemployment

Lubbock’s unemployment rate increased from 3.3 percent unemployment last February to 3.7 percent unemployment this February.

Automobile sales

Spending on auto purchases was down 5 percent in February, compared to the previous year.

About $60.1 million was spent in auto purchases in February compared to $63.3 million in auto sales the previous February.

Retail sales

February’s retail sales were also slightly down by 0.6 a percent compared to last February, with almost $480.8 million spent in retail sales in February of this year compared to about $483.6 in retail sales last February.

Agriculture

Cotton prices went up 26.1 percent in February with a price of $71.68 per pound this year compared to last February’s price of $56.85.

The fat cattle price, however, was down 11.4 percent from the previous year, at price of $121.20 in February compared to last February’s price of $136.82

Oil prices

The price of oil per barrel in February was up significantly by 84.8 percent in February at a price of $50.03 per barrel compared to $27.08 per barrel last February.

The rig count also more-than doubled over the last year with 19 rigs in February compared to 8 rigs in February 2016.

The value oil production also increased by 34.1 percent, at a value of $649,907 in February compared to a value of $484,558 last February.

 

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