With the stock market resembling a bouncing ball and oil and gas futures causing some brokers to reach for their bottles of antacids, all is not lost - at least not locally.
Dennis Clayton, Director for the City - Weatherford Economic Development Department, told a group of Rotarians recently that the economy “looked good in Parker County,” citing many economic indicators.
“Total employment in the county continues to grow - manufacturing, trade and retail, business and health services are the leading sectors,” Clayton said.
As it relates to oil and gas, Clayton said even though drilling has come to a virtual standstill, total employment in that sector continues to rise.
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“In 2004, employment in that area was near zero and it continues to grow, from 8 percent to 10 percent in the last few years,” he said.
With the population of Weatherford surpassing 26,000, Clayton said the city has become a regional shopping destination. He told of a study completed last April that showed shopping in Weatherford, from out of the area, capturing a retail trade area population of 96,000.
“A lot of people come here and we measure that by traffic,” he said. “It’s referred to as the primary drive time trade area or the ‘catchment’ area, which is a 15-mile ring around the city.”
Other key indicators show the continued rise in the city’s sales and use tax which has gone up steadily since 2010. New residential building permits have increased, as well as new commercial building permits.
“Existing home sales are rising with the average home sale coming in at more than $225,000, and the total number of homes sold in 2013 and 2014 at 1,907, up from 1,500 in 2012 and a six-year high,” Clayton said.
For more information on the progress in Parker County, be sure and read the special pull-out section, Parker County Strong, in the Jan. 28 edition of the Weatherford Star-Telegram.
Lance Winter, 817-594-9902, Ext. 102