Released by the Wood County Industrial Commission

(Wood County, TX) – (Wood County, TX) –The Wood County monthly state sales tax revenue report, released February 6, reflects Wood County retail sales were $458,916 for December 2012, down a nominal 2.52% over the same period last year, and $849,306.61 year to date, down a nominal 0.88% compared to the same period year to date in 2012. Overall, Wood County December sales tax receipts for the six cities were $332,305 (down slightly 0.09% compared to the same period last year) and at $610,598 for year to date, up 5.11% over the same year to date in 2012.
Wood County Industrial Commission Executive Director Chana Gail Willis stated, “These figures represent retail sales for December 2012, at a time we were just coming off the November elections and consumer confidence was still wavering over the then looming federal “fiscal cliff”. We experienced good gains overall in 2012, and expect these recent figures to shake out in the coming months and regain strength overall as we move into Spring, especially for the tourism season that generally heats up in the county starting at the end of February. Most Wood County cities experienced comfortable retail sales activity this reporting period with the exception of Hawkins and Yantis, compared to the previous year. A good economic target is a 3%-4% growth in retail sales tax revenue allocations.”
Willis added, “We are receiving some scattered reports that as employers make changes on their payrolls for the Federal Healthcare program, and recent adjustments in the tax laws from Washington, that employee paychecks are see some adjustments on their bottom lines. Nationally, this impacts consumer confidence index and spendable dollars by consumers. In fact, the U.S. consumer confidence index was 65.1 in December 2012, down 9% from November 2012, and 0.5% higher than one year ago. The Texas region’s consumer confidence index was 95.3 in December 2012, down 2.6% from November 2012, and 22% higher than one year ago. Consumer confidence is an economic indicator ‘barometer’ of the degree of optimism people feel about the economy and their personal financial situation.”
The State Comptroller January 25th report states that “Job growth, sales tax collections — both from business and consumer purchases — as well as automobile sales, signal that the Texas economy has emerged from the recent recession. Another indicator that the state’s economy has been comparatively healthy was the U.S. Census Bureau report that Texas added more people (421,000) than any other state from 2010 to 2011. Although Texas has only 8 percent of the nation’s population, the state added nearly 19 percent of the nation’s population growth for the year.” The estimated figures for Wood County population growth since 2010 are about 2%.
Other economic indicators from the state show we are continuing good recovery in many sectors. Oil and natural gas production tax collections for the first four months of fiscal 2013 were 11% higher than during the same period in 2012. Sales tax collections have increased for 32 consecutive months (year-over-year), boosted by strong business spending in the oil/natural gas and manufacturing sectors, and to a lesser extent by retail sales activity. The Texas economy continues faring well and much better than the rest of the nation. The Texas State Comptroller reports the total nonfarm employment increased by 155,000 jobs during December 2012. In December, The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.8% and Texas unemployment rate was 6.1%. The Wood County unemployment rate was 6.5 for the same period. The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 72 consecutive months.
Willis concluded, “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, legislative and budget news from Washington impacting industry sustainability and consumer pocketbooks. We continue to encourage folks to shop local and support their communities on the home front.”