Courtesy of the Wood County Industrial Commission

The Wood County monthly state sales tax revenue report released today, reflects Wood County November sales activity.

2012 retail sales were $390,391, up about 1.11% over the same period in 2011. Wood County receipts were $112,098 (down 18.6% compared to the same period last year) and the cities in the county totaled $278,292 for the period (up 12.08% over the same period last year).

Wood County Industrial Commission Executive Director Chana Gail Willis stated, “These are generally good numbers for November sales, considering the tension that month for the holiday sales and

Washington’s then pending “fiscal cliff” issues during that period. A good economic target is a 3%-4% growth in retail sales tax revenue allocations. Most Wood County cities experienced good retail sales activity this reporting period with the exception of Hawkins, compared to the previous year. Overall, Wood County’s revenues were down for the November period, however, as a whole, because of the cities activity, Wood County grew a nominal 1.1% over the same period last year.”

Other economic indicators show we are continuing good recovery in many sectors. Texas reports sales tax collection increases for 32 consecutive months. The Texas economy is definitely faring well and much better than the rest of the nation. The Texas State Comptroller reports the total nonfarm employment increased by 22,100 jobs during November 2012, increasing 2.6% from November 2011 and representing 14% of the National increase in nonfarm labor. Nonfarm workforce increased more in Texas at 2.6% than the National numbers of growth at 1.4%. The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.8% in

December; Texas unemployment rate was 6.2% for November, and the Wood County unemployment rate was 6.4 for the same period, down from 6.8% the prior month. The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 71 consecutive months.

The State Comptroller also reports that “Thus far, Texas has weathered the national real estate crunch without significant damage to property values. A total of 5,597 building permits for single-family homes were issued in November 2012. In the 12 months ending in November 2012, a total of 74,886 permits were issued, 21 percent more than in the previous year. There were 4,074 multi-family building permits issued in November 2012. During the 12 months ending in November 2012, a total of 52,081 permits were issued, 83 percent more than in the previous year. In November 2012, there were 18,258 sales of existing single-family homes, a decrease of 7.9 percent over the previous month but 22.3 percent more than in November 2011.

“The median sale price for an existing single-family home was $159,100 in November 2012, 8.3 percent higher than a year ago.” Willis stated, “Consumer confidence is an economic indicator “barometer” of the degree of optimism people feel about the economy and their personal financial situation. The U.S. consumer confidence December index was 65.1, while Texas was 95.3. A marker of this abstract feeling is actual motor vehicle sales figures: when sales increase, people are demonstrating their willingness or confidence in taking on a debt commitment for a four to five year period.”

For October 2012, Texas motor vehicle sales and rental tax collections were up a sound 27.2 percent from October 2011.

Willis added, “The climate continues to remain positive for measured economic retails sales growth continuing in Texas, yet somewhat measured and tempered precautionary for our county. Wood County communities are paying particularly close attention to the current Texas legislative sessions, with hot topics including water rights issues, infrastructure components for road planning and education.” Wills concluded, “Wood County should continue to see measured business expansion and new businesses permitting in the coming year. We continue to encourage folks to shop local and support their communities on the home front.”