ABILENE - The Abilene Economic Index increased for the ninth straight month in October 2013. The year-over-year increase was modest, roughly 2.2 percent, according to Karr Ingham.
The Abilene Metropolitan Statistical Area — made up of Taylor, Jones and Callahan counties — continues to add jobs at a modest clip with the October 2013 estimated payroll employment up by about 2.5 percent compared to October 2012.
“Further, total payroll employment in October is the highest on record for the month, surpassing the previous peak in October 2008 by about 300 jobs,” said Ingham.
Abilene’s jobless rate fell to 4.8 percent in October 2013, down from 5.1 percent in September 2013, according to the Texas Workforce Commission — it was 4.9 in October 2012. The local rate is below the state unemployment rate for October, 6.2 percent, and well below the national average of 7.3 percent.
Building permit valuations were down by nearly 34 percent in October 2013 compared with October 2012; however, the October 2012 total was up by 166 percent compared to October 2011. Total construction activity thus far in 2013 is up by 4.5 percent compared to 2012.
After bottoming out in 2011, home construction has rebounded and is in its second straight year of growth. The number of new single-family residence permits was up for October 2013, and up by over 20 percent compared with the January 2012 to October 2012 period.
Home sales continue to reflect solid improvement in 2013, and the number of closed sales from January to October increased by 11 percent compared to the first 10 months in 2012.
The October 2013 average home price decreased to $133,243 from $135,337 in October 2012. The median price increased to $127,770 from $117,000 in October 2012.
Worth noting is that 48 percent of the homes listed sold within the first 30 days. Abilene has about four months worth of inventory.
October enplanements at Abilene Regional Airport totaled 8,214, up 21 percent to compared to 6,770 in October 2012. From January 2013 to October 2013, airport enplanements went up 9 percent to 73,204 from 67,188 the same period in 2012.