Most sectors gave Wichita Falls economy a favorable 2019

Dr. James Owen, Midwestern State University

Local economic activity during December allowed our trade area to conclude 2019 with a favorable performance record in most sectors.  Employment statistics have been mostly upbeat for the entire year including the December estimates. 

The energy sector continues to search for stability, although oil prices seem to be on an uptrend over the past few months.

Local job numbers seem to have improved in an orderly, but not spectacular, fashion during 2019.  Since the beginning of the year, local job numbers have increased by nearly 500 or 0.7 percent. 

An impressive aspect of this estimate is that it has exhibited a mostly steady and sustained record.  With some interesting prospects as we begin 2020, we may see continued improvement. Our unemployment rate for December continues at 2.9 percent, which is a record or at least near-record low compared to the past several years.

The local construction sector has exhibited some challenges during the year but concluded with an improvement in the number of new home permits issued.  The 90 new permits issued during 2019 is 20 percent higher compared to those issued during 2018. 

Potentially we will see this number of new permits approach the 100 level during 2020.  Past years that have been quite favorable in an economic performance context, new home permits issued have typically exceeded 100 per year.

Comparisons between 2018 and 2019 with respect to the estimated dollar value for all building permits issued have been sort of challenging.  During 2018, there seem to have been a rather high dollar estimate while the estimate for permits issued during 2019 are nearly nine percent lower. 

For the 2019 calendar year, total tax receipts accruing to Wichita Falls are higher by 3.7 percent.

While local economic performance has been favorable during 2019, the Wichita Falls Economic Index for December remains at 107.9, constant with the months since August.  

Presuming the record for 2019 continues into 2020, we may enjoy an index improvement as we work through the first quarter. 

Read the full article at Times Record News.

$1.3M incentive agreement approved for DuPlooy Trucking

Claire Kowalick, Wichita Falls Times Record News

An incentive agreement to assist DuPlooy Trucking in their expansion and relocation to the Wichita Falls area is exactly what the area needs right now, said Mayor Stephen Santellana.

DuPlooy, which currently has locations in Byers, downtown in the Oil and Gas Building and a dispatch center in Oklahoma, wants to combine their offices into one main center at Highway 277 and Business 277.

DuPlooy is a mainly agricultural hauling company that operates mainly in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. It was established in 2011 and began commercial agricultural hauling in 2016.

Co-owner Matthew Wood said Tuesday during a Wichita Falls City Council meeting that business has been booming for them, especially with the close of several large trucking companies in west Texas and Oklahoma. The company wants to add 100 new jobs, including 90 trucking positions at an average salary of $35 per hour.

The company’s other owner is A.J. DuPlooy. 

The Wichita Falls Economic Development Corporation (4A) unanimously approved an up to $1.334 million incentive agreement for cash-for-jobs and relocation incentives with DuPlooy.

Travis Haggard, with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the incentives are weighed more heavily on bringing in employees from outside the Wichita Falls area. He said the goal was to not “cannibalize” truck drivers and other employees from current Wichita Falls businesses, but rather bring in new people that will boost both the population and median income of the area.

Read the full story at Times Record News

Wichita Falls economy ending 2019 with robust indicators

Dr. James Owen, Midwestern State University

Economic performance in the Wichita Falls area during November continue to support the robust activity that has been evident throughout most of 2019. 

Overall, our local economy reflects reasonably well the reports that have been provided about the national economy. We are now past the 10-year mark for the beginning of our recovery from the Great Recession.  Prospects for continued economic growth are favorable.

Particularly encouraging is the number of new home construction permits issued during November. Permits for new homes are more than 80 percent higher in the month-to-month comparison with last year. 

The year-over-year comparison is nearly 17 percent higher and in line for an annual number that is in line with past years that have exhibited favorable overall economic performance.

Our market for existing home sales is holding its own.  The number of closings during November is lower by 14 percent while the average price is higher by nearly four percent.  The year-over-year numbers are more nearly in line with performance exhibited in past favorable years.  Compared to the year-to-date number of closings in 2018, current performance is 1.2 percent lower but the average price thus far this year is 1.1 percent higher.

Read the full story at Times Record News.

More apartment living downtown coming in 2020

Claire Kowalick, Wichita Falls Times Record News

A real-estate development company announced Thursday that they have big plans for a seemingly little building on Indiana in downtown Wichita Falls.

Ardent Urban Development, with principal developer Steve Dieterichs, said they are under contract to renovate a property at 927 Indiana.

From their website, Ardent is a company that seeks adaptive-reuse projects in smaller urban areas that have a high potential for growth such as Wichita Falls, Abilene, and Forney.

Dieterichs has more than a decade of experience, most recently in the Abilene area, with urban development.

The long, narrow building sits between the Wichita Theatre and the Wichita Falls Public Library. It faces the Picker’s Universe building, which is also undergoing a major $2.5-million renovation.

Read the full article from Times Record News

Related: Ardent Urban Development under contract

DuPlooy Trucking set to expand to Wichita Falls

Lauren Linville | Texomashomepage.com

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A trucking company based in Byers is expanding to Wichita Falls, and with a vote from the 4A Board, there could be an incentive for employees willing to relocate.

The Wichita Falls 4A Board voted to approve DuPlooy Trucking’s incentive proposal.

The company wants to add an extra 100 employees, DuPlooy Trucking has 32 employees right now.

“We are a regional hopper bottom company, we are expanding into different divisions,” DuPlooy Trucking operations manager and co-owner Matthew Wood said. “We’re gonna have flatbeds, tankers as well as a couple of specialized flatbeds and specialized commodity trailers.”

With the new location and expansion, they want to provide extra motivation for truck drivers from California, New York and other parts of the country to make Wichita County their new home.

“With a lot of the layoffs that’ve been going on with the oil industry we’re kinda hoping to retain some of those, maybe not retain but hoping to bring more of those jobs in,” Wood said.

The 4A Board has hit the gas on this proposal.

The incentive would help with the expenses it takes to pack up and move.

“It’s a cash for jobs incentives, so they produce the jobs upfront, employed for a year and we give them some cash,” Wichita Falls 4A Board president Leo Lane said. “Our goal is to bring people from outside the area for those folks and help increase the population of Wichita Falls.”

Watch/read the full story from Texomashomepage.com

Learn more about the incentive program.