WICHITA FALLS - Local indicators reflecting economic activity during March exhibit a continuing positive trend. The overall favorable aspects of the economic factors are sufficient to lift the Wichita Falls Economic Index to 105.1, its highest level since the 2008.
Wichita Falls area employers have added 500 new jobs during 2014 — 200 more jobs when compared with the number added as of March 2013. The total number of jobs in the local area is now higher by just under 1 percent compared with March 2013.
The local unemployment rate for March is 5 percent, 1 percentage point lower than February and the lowest since fall 2008.
The number of home construction permits issued during March is about 14 percent lower compared with March 2013, but the year-to-date number issued is nearly 30 percent higher.
The estimated value of homes authorized through these permits is 25 percent higher in the month-to-month comparison and 44 percent higher year-to-date.
Retail sales show a slight decline of less than 1 percent in the month-to-month comparison with 2013, but the year-to-date comparison is higher by 3.5 percent.
Compared to 2013, the number of closings is lower in both the month-to-month and year-to-date reports by 36 percent and 22 percent, respectively. Home prices, on the other hand, continue to rise compared to 2013.
Average closing price in month-to-month comparison for March is higher by more than 35 percent. The year-to-date comparison of price is also higher with an increase of 17 percent.