Growth fueling best job-growth rate in Texas as Commerce National’s economic report sets another record.
The best job growth in Texas, record-low jobless numbers and a big increase in auto sales pushed the Bryan-College Station Economic Index to a record high of 154.6 in October.
“We’re blessed to live in an area with a healthy economy and low unemployment,” said Tom Maynard, Commerce National Bank’s senior vice president and regional manager.
Here are Tom’s key takeaways from the July report.
Click here to see full report.
Wage and salary employment was up 3.9 percent over October of last year and up 3.3 percent year-to-date placing the area atop the list of the state’s 26 metro areas. Bryan-College Station added 4,600 jobs over the past 12 months. Most were in the government and leisure/hospitality sectors.
Maynard mentioned a recent article in the Bryan-College Station Eagle saying more than two-dozen restaurants – from fast food to a Brazilian steak house – were coming to town.
A huge H-E-B and other retail was planned for Jones Crossing, he said.
And Bryan is also growing. Kroger is adding 22,000-square-feet of space and other businesses are opening.
All of this is fueling job growth and driving down jobless numbers. The tiny 2.5 percent unemployment rate is down 28.6 percent from October of 2016.
Real estate/construction numbers remained historically healthy, even if some lagged behind 2016’s record marks.
“There’s still a lot of construction going on,” said Maynard.
- Number of home sales up 4.1 percent over last October.
- Average home sale price up 2.9 percent over last October, with the average home price climbing above $250,000.
- Dollar volume of residential home sales activity up 4.4 percent over last October.
- Value of all construction permits was down 73.2 percent and single family housing permits were down 54.7 percent
The value of all construction permits is going against numbers from 2016 from high-rise private dormitories for Texas A&M students that were built across from campus, Maynard said.
And people looking for a starter home are having to save longer and move up as people are “snapping up homes under $200,000 to use as student rentals,” said Maynard.
“Bryan home prices are a little cheaper, about 30, 40 to 50 thousand less and we’re seeing a boom there,” said Maynard.
Auto sales were up 10.4 percent from last October, but down 2.8 percent year-to-date. From what Maynard has heard, local dealers have sold a number of cars to replace ones damaged by Hurricane Harvey, but they’re not always registered locally, so the sales numbers could actually be higher.
“Cars registered in Harris County would not be reflected in our report,” he said.
Retail sales dipped 1.1 percent over last October, but are up 3 percent year to date.