As the stock market mimics an amusement park ride, specifically that of a roller coaster, not all of the news is bad - particularly locally.
During the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Weatherford, Dennis Clayton, director of economic development for the city of Weatherford said business has been good.
During his address on Tuesday he told a large crowd that the population of the city has seen steady growth.
“Currently, the new population estimates, as reported by the Council Of Governments, shows Weatherford with more than 27,000 residents,” Clayton said.
He said if projections hold true the county could have between 190,000 and 200,000 within the next 20-25 years. As for Weatherford, during that same time frame, the city could bulge to between 37,000 and 40,000.
“As for the trade area we did a ‘license plate’ survey conducted 18 months ago that took place in the parking lots of Wal-mart, Lowe’s and Target; and JC Penny and Belk,” Clayton said. “What it showed was an immediate trade area population of 97,000 - and that’s not the entire county.”
He said what was revealing was the secondary-regional trade area was more than 174,000, that does extended well beyond Parker County.
Clayton said in spite of a dip in new commercial building permits from 2012 through 2014 due to the recession, that is ancient history as the city posted historic highs in construction in 2015.
“The value is high, up more than 40 percent, that’s more than $33 million in value in commercial permits,” he said.
Clayton said new residential permits did the same thing in 2009 through 2010 and have fully recovered.
He said the unemployment rate remains strong, at just 4 percent, and that the only “glitch” came in the oil and gas industry.
“In the last 11 quarters this industry employment really grew from nothing to 10.4 percent,” Clayton said. “It dropped a little in the first quarter to 10 percent, but in the second quarter it dropped to 8.8 percent, that was significant.”
He said that equated to about 670 jobs lost across the county.
“It wasn’t sever but it did affect us a little,” Clayton added.
He told of three oil field related businesses that closed over the past year due to declining oil prices, one owned by oil giant, Schlumberger.
“They had only five employees, but trained 100 to 150 people at their training center in the industrial park ever year,” Clayton said.
Clayton wrapped up the meeting saying it was exciting to watch new businesses scheduled to open in Weatherford in the coming year which included the newly opened Aldi, to the: Power Service expansion, a new Race Track and Quick Trip, the Film Alley entertainment center and the new Roger Williams Auto Mall to name a few.
“This is good data,” Clayton said. “It’s exciting to see Weatherford continue to grow.”