Tomm Maynard, Commerce National Bank’s senior vice
president and regional manager
Jobs, job growth, retail sales, construction keep Bryan-College Station Economic Index at record high
Plummeting jobless numbers, the continuing best-job growth rate in Texas, strong retail sales and very strong construction activity kept the Bryan-College Station Economic Index unchanged at a record high at 154.2 in September and up 2 percent over September a year ago.
“As Texas A&M and ancillary businesses grow and all these people are coming in, companies are moving in to take advantage of the growth. We have ribbon cuttings all the time,” said Tom Maynard, Commerce National Bank’s senior vice president and regional manager.
Here are Tom’s key takeaways from the July report.
Maynard was a bit surprised to see the report saying auto sales were down 11.8 percent year over year, because that’s not what he heard from two different dealers.
Jerry Black, business manager at Tom Light Chevrolet told Maynard:
“We had a record month in September. Possibly the best performance ever in new and used vehicles combined. I attribute 10 percent of those September sales to Harvey flooded vehicles. We just finished an equally impressive October.”
Dane Goddard, general manager of Douglass Nissan, also told Maynard his dealership had a solid September.
Click here to see full report.
The 2.9 percent unemployment rate is down 21.6 percent from September of 2016 and is under 3 percent for the first time in the history of the Index.
Wage and salary employment was up 3.4 percent over September of last year and Bryan-College Station was the only metro area in the state to post a job growth rate of more than 3 percent.
Retail sales were up 2.7 percent over last September and 4.6 percent in the third quarter.
“We’ve got more people moving in, working, making money and they have money to spend – and the students are back. More students and more people,” said Maynard.
Almost all construction numbers remained healthy compared to last September:
- Single family housing permits up 2.8 percent
- Number of home sales up 11.7 percent
- Average home sale price up 24.1 percent
- Dollar volume of residential home sales activity
up 35.2 percent.
- The only number that wasn’t going up was the value of all construction down 44.3 percent, but that number can be skewed when a massive project hikes the number during one month.
“Housing prices keep going up because land prices keep going up,” said Maynard. “We’re starting to see a little slowness in larger homes, those over $500,000. Custom home builders are still building, but their specs have slowed.”