Lubbock economy up sharply over last year - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock economy up sharply over last year

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

Lubbock National Bank shows that the local economy is continuing to improve.

The latest economic index for November went up 7.2 percent compared to November of 2011.

The Lubbock Economic Index rose above 130.0 in November for the first time since December of 2008, and is now within 1 percent of its peak value of 131.6, reached in September of 2008. 

The report credits auto sales, construction, and the housing market as its driving forces.

Auto sales in Lubbock continue to post double-digit percentage improvements in November with inflation-adjusted spending on new and used automobiles up by more than 24 percent compared to November of a year ago.

Construction in the city remains robust with monthly building permit valuations up by triple-digit percentage points for the second straight month, and for the fourth time in 2012. The $38 million in building project valuations in November is up by 136 percent compared to November of a year ago, pulling the year-to-date total to over 60 percent improved compared to the January-November 2011 total.

The residential real estate market continues to improve through November with housing sales for the month up by nearly 44 percent compared to November the year before. 

Marc McDougal, President of McDougal Realtors, said he specifically saw a big jump in house sales in November and December.

"Interest rates are at an all time low. And that certainly helps in getting first time home buyers into a home for the first time.  And the move-up market - those selling those houses," McDougal said.

Another important element that keeps our hub city running is cotton production.  Total number of bales ginned through November shows a whopping 50 percent increase from the year before.

"Cotton production on the high plains going to be something a little less than 3 million bales," said Steve Verett, Executive Vice President of Plains Cotton Growers.

"But compared to last year of 1.8 million bales, it's significantly better. But certainly still less than average," he said.  The average amount, over a 10-year period, is 3.8 million bales said Verett.

Also helping boost this rapid index growth is Lubbock's unemployment rate.  According to South Plains Workforce Solutions, the current unemployment rate in Lubbock is 4.6 percent.  That is almost a full point difference from November 2011's unemployment rate of 5.5 percent.

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