Lubbock's economy flat, new construction down almost 70% - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock's economy flat, new construction down almost 70%

By James Clark - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock's economy actually declined slightly from December to January according to numbers released Tuesday by Lubbock National Bank.  The monthly study shows Lubbock's economic index dropped from 124.1 to 121.0.

"Construction permits were off about 70 percent from this time last year," says Lubbock National Bank Senior Vice President James Arnold.  New construction went from $41 million in January of last year to $13 million for January 2011.

"So that's not a good way to start the year off," Arnold says.

But that's not to say everything is doom and gloom. 

"I think February is gonna be a better month for us," Arnold says.  But January also had its bright spots.  "Retail sales were in positive territory for the first time in a long time."

Retail sales were up 3.3% and home values in Lubbock were up 5.5% compared to January 2010. 

"Commodity prices are up across the board. Oil prices, cotton prices, cattle prices are all in double-digit growth," Arnold says.   

Rising prices are great for cotton farmers, but the down side is that consumers pay more.  Lubbock's consumer price index is up 0.9% for January, which if annualized would be an inflation rate of 2.8%. 

The food/grocery sector of Lubbock's consumer prices are still down year-over-year but starting to rise when comparing January to December. 

Arnold says unemployment remains steady in Lubbock, which is one of the lowest rates in Texas.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11.  All rights reserved.

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