Midland-Odessa economy continues expansionMidland-Odessa economy continues expansionhttps://www.recenter.tamu.edu/news/newstalk-texas/?Item=71582013-06-12T07:53:00Z2013-06-07T00:00:00Z

MIDLAND-ODESSA - Extremely strong economic expansion continued as the Midland and Odessa economies entered second quarter 2013.

Amarillo Economist Karr Ingham, who prepares the Midland-Odessa Regional Economic Index for Midland Development Corp. and Security Bank, said the index in April was 11.7 percent above April 2012 and has posted 38 consecutive months of growth.

It is an economy that should be celebrated for its expansion and job creation, Ingham said. But, such an overheated economy comes with challenges such as the Midland-Odessa labor market.

The area's employment growth leads not only the state, but the nation, with Midland posting the nation's lowest unemployment rate for five consecutive months. Ingham predicted that the unemployment rate would continue to decline, meaning the labor market will get even tighter, putting upward pressure on wages and other elements.

"Everything is magnified in Midland-Odessa," he said. "When economic data is revised upward, the revisions are astounding, and when they're revised downward, you really get hammered."

"It's not logical to expect to maintain 20 to 30 percent retail sales increases or 20 to 30 percent growth in automotive spending or 6 to 7 percent job growth," he said. "The rate may stabilize at a high level of activity. By no means does that mean that area is on the verge of a contraction."

Retail spending, for example, was 7.3 percent higher than April 2012, which was over 34 percent higher than April 2011 levels.

Construction and housing have "a lot to do with continuing to push the index higher," Ingham said. The total value of building permits issued in the two cities in April reached $98.15 million, up 55 percent from $63.3 million last April, the fifth highest month on record.

For the year, those permits have totaled $324.77 million, up 36.7 percent from $237.6 million in the first four months of 2012.

Midland and Odessa issued 115 new home permits in April, compared to 91 last April, the fifth consecutive month that number has exceeded 100. The two cities have issued 451 so far in 2013, up 20.6 percent from last year, which was 38 percent above the first four months of 2011.

Realtors sold 283 existing homes in April, up 18.9 percent from 238 last April, a sign, that new home construction has expanded the inventory of available housing.

The average sales price of $211,268 was up 6.6 percent, from $198,224 last April, which was 28.7 percent above the April 2011 average.

Midland Reporter-Telegram
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