LUBBOCK - The Lubbock Economic Index reported the largest year-over-year growth in its history and is up for the 11th straight month.
In August 2012 it finished at 127.1, up from 119.7 in August 2011. That 6.2 percent growth represented the unprecedented year-over-year increase.
Auto spending was up by double-digit percentage points for the fifth consecutive month, with inflation-adjusted spending on new and used automobiles up by more than 25 percent in August, and more than 19 percent year to date, according to Lubbock National Bank
Retail sales figures rose by 7.6 percent compared to a year ago, and 5 percent year to date.
The unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent in August, down more than 12 percent compared to the same month a year ago, according to James Arnold, executive vice president for Lubbock National Bank.
August existing home sales jumped 37 percent from August 2011. The 361 sales in August is the second-highest August monthly total in index history, surpassed only by 362 sales in August 2003.
Year-to-date sales are up 17.3 percent compared to the first eight months of 2011 as the local residential real estate market continues to recover.
August building permits were more than double those from the same month last year and the year-to-date total is up by 47 percent compared to the first eight months of 2011. The year-to-date total is the highest since the peak in 2008.
The increase is largely because the numbers in August 2011 were very low, off by nearly 70 percent compared to the previous year.