Waco economic index rises for 16th straight monthWaco economic index rises for 16th straight monthhttps://www.recenter.tamu.edu/news/newstalk-texas/?Item=69542013-06-27T14:51:00Z2013-06-27T00:00:00Z

WACO - Waco’s economy improved for the 16th straight month in May and is approaching the record performance of August 2007, with employment, construction and home sales leading the surge, according to Amarillo-based economist Karr Ingham.

The Greater Waco Economic Index hit 111.5 in May, up from 110.3 in April, with that increase representing the largest month-to-month rise between those months in the history of the report.

“Most sectors of the Greater Waco general economy continue to improve as part of ongoing economic expansion, now nearly two years in the making, including 16 straight months of increase in the index,” Ingham said in a report that accompanied his raw figures.

The index now is only two-tenths of a point from the all-time high of 111.7, which was set in December 2007, shortly before recession began to grip the nation.

Construction activity already was booming in 2013, with building permit valuations up by triple-digit percentage points compared to year-ago levels.

The numbers in May, which totaled $263 million, included a permit for the new Baylor University football stadium under construction on the Brazos River. Site preparation has been ongoing for months, but the permit to complete the stadium by fall 2014 was secured last month.

Ingham said the McLennan County economy has created about 3,000 jobs in the past year, mostly in the private sector as opposed to local, state and federal government.

But recent announcements regarding layoffs and hiring could change the picture for job growth in the near future.

  • Providence Healthcare Network this month announced cost-cutting moves that include the elimination of 52 jobs.
  • Oak Farms confirmed it would close its Waco operations and lay off 
150 people within 60 to 90 days.
  • Sterling Trust will relocate most local functions to Ohio, eliminating nearly 100 positions.

On a positive note, General Dynamics Information Technology it will open a new call center in the former Blue Cross & Blue Shield building in Lacy Lakeview, and hopes to begin hiring up to 440 people this summer and possibly 700 if demand dictates.

Home builders took a break in May, taking out 40 percent fewer permits than in May last year. But year-to-date, permits have reached 167 compared to 150 last year.

For existing homes, 237 homes changed hands in May, a 17.3 percent jump from a year ago. The average value of homes sold continues its healthy climb, reaching $150,679 in May, up 4.8 percent from a year ago. The year-to-date average through May stands at $139,922, a 3.5 percent increase.

Waco Tribune-Herald
http://www.wacotrib.com/news/business/waco-economic-index-rises-for-th-straight-month/article_8e07a1a9-bf8e-5f44-a51a-41b6b56cc668.htmlRead more at {Source}

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