WACO - One year ago last month, Baylor University secured a permit to build its new $260 million football stadium at Interstate 35 and Lake Brazos. And even before that happened, permits issued between January and April of last year were running 165 percent ahead of the first four months of the previous year.
The Greater Waco Economic Index (GWEI) declined for the first time in seven months, according to a report released by economist Karr Ingham. The GWEI slipped to 112.6 in May from 113.3 in April, but was up from the 110.4 in May a year earlier.
“So there is absolutely no chance construction activity in Waco in 2014 will match those numbers from 2013,” said Ingham, who prepares a monthly snapshot of local economic trends on behalf of the First National Bank of Central Texas and the Tribune-Herald.
May 2013 was a boom month for construction locally, and May 2014 suffered in comparison. Though building permits this May fell well below 2013 figures, they were “perfectly” respectable, Ingham said.
Hotel/motel tax receipts were up sharply for the month, as were the number of permits for construction of single-family homes with 37 new single-family homes issued, a 94 percent increase from 19 in May 2013.
McLennan County’s jobless rate in May stood at 5 percent, down from 6.1 percent in May 2013. Automobile sales dipped 1.3 percent from May 2013, the first decline of 2014.
Inflation-adjusted taxable spending rose a modest 1.5 percent compared to May 2013. For the first five months of the year, spending has reached nearly $1 billion and is running 4.7 percent ahead of last year.