Positive indicators in Lubbock economy - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/27/10

Positive indicators in Lubbock economy

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By Brittany Pieper  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock National Bank released the Lubbock Economic Index for the 4th quarter of 2009. It's probably no surprise the Lubbock economy saw overall decreases in 2009, but in the last quarter things starting to look up, and this could be the turn around everyone's been waiting for.

"The bottom line for the economy for 2009 is we ended the year 6% down from where we were in 2008. The good news is in the 4th quarter we started to see signs of the local economy coming back," said James Arnold with Lubbock National Bank. 

In 2009 construction permits decreased 24%, but they increased about 56% in the last quarter. There's a similar story in the housing market, which was down 18% for the year, but up 46 percent in the 4th quarter. Home values stayed steady in 2009.

During the 4th quarter Lubbock also saw a slight increase in airline boarding's and lodging. "Kind of points to maybe some increase in business travel, which is a positive for us," said Arnold. 

Only one economic indicator did not improve during the 4th quarter. "The only one that didn't really return to normal was retail sales, and that's just consumer confidence," said Arnold.  Retail sales were down 7% in the 4th quarter and 3% for the year.

Local business experts also feel optimistic about the job front in 2010. "We're gonna start the turn around. Maybe a slow turn around, but I think we're definitely looking at adding jobs in the next year," said Lubbock Economic Development Alliance Interim CEO, Kenny McKay. 

In 2009 the country lost 7-million jobs. The state of Texas lost 200,000. Lubbock lost only 1,000 and held the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.4%.

The Lubbock Economic Development Alliance has put some incentives in place to try and encourage job creation, and they hope to make up for 2009's losses. "We look to have some great things happening in the coming year."

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