LUBBOCK- Lubbock's economy started 2016 with a slight decline in its Economic Index, dipping to 144.7 in January compared to December 2015's 145.2 index.
The January decrease marks the end of 11 straight months of increases, according to Lubbock National Bank, which maintains the monthly index.
Lubbock's real general spending was down slightly compared to January 2015 levels, along with spending on auto purchases and the number of new housing construction permits.
Those decreases in the Lubbock market has caused the decline in the economic index, but the index is higher compared to the same time last year, with January's 144.7 index up 2.9 percent from January 2015's 140.6.
"The Lubbock economy went down as far as index is concerned, which is just a very small movement," said Chip Gilmour, Lubbock National Bank senior vice president. "When you consider you have 11 months of increases, to see it stabilize a little bit is expected. The rest of this year looks good for Lubbock."
Record building permit activity in January and Lubbock's low unemployment rate for the month were the strongest economic indicators in the index report.
About $84.3 million in building permits were issued in January, which outpaced January 2015's permit valuation of about $51 million.
The more than $84 million spent on building permits in January is the highest on record for that month.
Lubbock's unemployment rate started 2016 at 3.3 percent, which is lower than January 2015's 3.6 percent.
January's 3.3 percent rate is the lowest for that month recorded since January 1999's 3 percent.
However, new home construction and retail sales were down.
New home construction permits were down 15.6 percent in January compared to the same month last year.
"New home permits are down a little bit, but the number of home sales is up 5 percent from last year and the average cost of a home in Lubbock is $166,000, which is up from $160,000 a year ago," Gilmour said.
About 65 new home permits were issued in January and around 212 homes were sold.
George McMahan, a Lubbock housing developer, said it's typical for housing construction to slow during the fall and winter seasons.
McMahan said just a few years ago home construction was booming as Lubbock was recovering from the 2008 recession.