Lubbock economy shrank in May for first time since 2012 after hi - FOX34 Lubbock

Lubbock economy shrank in May for first time since 2012 after historic unemployment in April

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

After eight years of growth averaging 4.3 percent a year, the pandemic battered Lubbock's economy, leading to a year-over-year contraction of 1.5 percent in May, according to the Lubbock Economic Index released Wednesday.

More than 17,000 people lost their jobs between March and April, a loss of more than 11 percent in Lubbock's existing positions. That led to a record unemployment rate of 10 percent.

Index authors note "[n]ever before has the Lubbock economy lost 11% of its jobs in one month, or even during an entire cycle of contraction" and state the unemployment rate has never been "anywhere near" 10% before. Even during the Great Recession of 2008-09, analysts indicate the Lubbock economy only lost about 3,400 jobs in a 14-month period.

Compared to 2019, May showed 7.5 percent job loss; analysts note it's "still horrific, but better" than April. Analysts report the economy recovered about 5,100 jobs that month.

In terms of the overall economy, February showed year-over-year growth at 4.5 percent, capping the 101-month streak dating back to 2012. In sheer index point values, March showed the first contraction, after the US declared the national COVID-19 emergency on March 13. With a peak at 160 points in February, March's economic index value slipped to 159.7

April and May showed the largest month-to-month changes in the economic index since its inception, at 3.6 and 3.2 points respectively. As of the end of May, Lubbock's economic index value is 152.9.


(Source: Lubbock National Bank)

In economic growth values, March continued the year-over-year expansion at 4.1 percent, but April showed the growth slump to 1.1 percent over 2019. May marked the first year-over-year contraction at -1.5 percent compared to 2019.


(Source: Lubbock National Bank)

"Incredibly," the report states, "new housing construction has continued to improve in 2020 with double-digit percentage year-over-year increases in all five months of the year thus far." The city issued 738 permits between January and May, the first time for that time period.

The airport showed a 50% drop in airline travel in March, a precursor to the staggering drop-off in April: in the whole month, only 2,345 people boarded a plane in Lubbock. The airport usually anticipates 40,000 passengers a month.

May showed a slight increase in travel, with 8,230 boardings. Analysts hope that's a sign of recovery.

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