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Survey puts Midland among top 10 boomtowns

‘Economy very much alive in Midland,’ SmartAsset spokeswoman says

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Written by Mella McEwen
Click HERE to Read the Article by the Publisher.


Many oil towns, Midland included, have been knocked off their feet by the fall in crude prices that began two years ago. But a recent survey finds Midland is regaining its financial footing.

In fact, SmartAsset’s third annual survey of Top American Boom Towns ranks Midland eighth. Odessa held that position in the 2015 survey.

“The economy is very much alive in Midland,” SmartAsset spokeswoman Asees Singh said in a phone interview.

Major oil companies in the area are beginning to expand, she said, pointing to the addition of 100 active drilling rigs the past year. Those are reasons Midland is coming back from the downturn, she said.

Economist Ray Perryman, in an email responding to the study, said the area “is doing much better than it did in the 1980s, but has obviously felt the effects of the downturn in oil.”

In conducting the survey, SmartAsset looked at unemployment, migration, housing data and gross domestic product in determining the rankings.

Midland reported the highest GDP growth among the top 10 at 9.4 percent, according to the survey.

“There is no date given for the GDP numbers, but I suspect that they lagged to some extent,” Perryman said. “As we begin to see a pickup in rigs, things will improve further, but we are not where we were in 2014.”

The Tall City also experienced rapid population growth with a net migration rate of 2.3 percent, the eighth highest among the 10, and housing growth rate of 7.3 percent, according to the survey. Midland unemployment stood at 4.6 percent as of the survey, up 0.9 percent from 2015.

In conducting the third edition of the survey, Singh said one key finding was that oil towns no longer dominated the rankings, with Midland and Bismarck, North Dakota (No. 9) the only oil cities with indications that the tide may be turning.

A second key finding was that East Coast economies are growing, as cities in North Carolina and Florida record some of the fastest-growing economies following the oil bust. For the first time since the first survey in 2014, four East Coast towns are on the list: Cary (No. 1) and Raleigh (No. 10) North Carolina and Fort Meyers (No. 3) and Kissimmee (No. 7) Florida.

Singh described SmartAsset as offering online technical tools to provide financial advice, especially for major financial decisions such as purchasing a home or life insurance or making investments.

Driving this annual study of the top boomtowns is that “unemployment is at its lowest rate since 2007, yet the economy is growing at a relatively slow pace, but there are places like Midland that are bucking the trend,” she said.

Perryman recently released his overview of the West Texas region — encompassing 30 counties including Midland, Ector and Tom Green (San Angelo) — and said recent economic news indicates “the area is moving forward despite the uncertainties and only tentative recovery in the energy sector.”

He said this economic news includes two major construction projects at Angelo State University in San Angelo; the growth of Midland’s aerospace industry with the arrival of Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Catcher spacecraft; a $72 million hotel development in Odessa; and expansion on the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center of the Permian Basin’s Odessa campus.

In his long-term economic forecast for the West Texas region, Perryman sees continued growth through 2040. His forecast is for real gross product in the West Texas region to grow at a calculated annual growth rate of 3.06 percent, slightly slower than the statewide forecast of 3.27 percent. Through 2040, the region’s population is forecast to grow 1.4 percent, and total wage and salary employment is expected to grow at an annual pace of 1.41 percent. Real personal income should grow at a rate of 4.06 percent and real retail sales are projected to grow 3.95 percent.


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Written by Mella McEwen
Click HERE to Read the Article by the Publisher.

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