WACO - The Greater Waco economy has advanced beyond recovering from recession to entering a “new growth” phase, as its June numbers for employment, spending and construction set a record dating back to August 2007, said Karr Ingham, an Amarillo-based economist.
The monthly snapshot of economic activity index hit 112 in June, besting the previous high mark of 111.7.
“The Greater Waco Economic Index has grown by nearly 4 percent in the first six months of the year, and all components are solidly improved through June compared to the first half of 2012,” Ingham said.
Two factors — spending and employment — continue to play a prominent role in the area’s economic
Inflation-adjusted spending was up 4 percent from the first six months of last year in Waco and nine surrounding communities, according to sales tax receipts.
area created 2,400 jobs in the 12 months through June, and Ingham thinks there will be “a steady addition of jobs over time” as the economy
The value of building permits for new construction topped $333 million during second quarter, an increase of 607 percent from the second quarter last year. That figure is skewed by the awarding of a permit to build Baylor’s new $250 million football stadium, which will open in fall 2014.
Still, Ingham said, construction activity was up 165 percent from last year through April, one month before the permit was issued for the stadium in May.
Housing construction was up sharply in June, pushing the quarterly total for new-home permits to
37 percent more than the same period last year. Year-to-date the number of permits issued to build new homes is 24 percent above the first six months of last year.
Existing home sales jumped 13 percent during second quarter compared to the same period last year, and are up more than 12 percent for the year.
“Strange though it may seem, the 1,117 recorded sales in the first six months of the year is still down compared to each year 2003-08,” Ingham