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San Patricio County EDC Executive Director Foster Edwards hosted another virtual County EDC Breakfast earlier this month where he touted rising sales tax and lower unemployment numbers.

PORTLAND – With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing and retailers continuing to feel its affects, San Patricio County is slowly showing signs of recovering by putting people back to work.

San Patricio County added 2,270 jobs in June. The labor force went up from 28,016 to 29,112 and unemployment dropped from 4,400 in May to 3,226. At this time last year, way before residents knew anything about COVID-19, the unemployment number for the county was at 1,700 which was 5.7 percent.

“The unemployment rate fell down to 11.1 percent which we would we would never brag about and we’d never be happy with —  and we’re not — but it’s certainly better than it was,” San Patricio County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Foster Edwards said. “And we’re pleased about the way that has turned out because it looks like the economy is improving.”

The top five industries that had employees file unemployment claims in the county were full service restaurants, industrial construction, limited service restaurants, nonresidential electrical contractors and elementary and secondary school workers. By gender, 597 of those workers were male and 441 female.

Sales taxes were also up throughout the county with the exception of Odem which dropped -3.66% with a $244,972 year to date payment compared to $254.303.51 this time last year.

“Aransas Pass is up by 11 percent and Gregory up by 31 percent and just on and on,” Edwards continued. “Sales tax is such a good look at the money being spent in the community and we were happy about that. It does tell a good story about what’s going on in our county.”

In the housing market for June, compared to last year the median price of houses went up 18.8 percent to $221,500. Active listings were down 24 percent to only 278 but closed sales were up 7.7 percent. The big number here is the 4.2 months of inventory compared to 6.0 in June 2019.

“We have less homes available, which drives the price up,” Edwards said. “We do have a lot of subdivisions that are in the planning process that are going to be coming online, we have some apartment complexes that are coming online and those are certainly going to help our inventory situation.

“It looks like the entire Coastal Bend is improving and we’re happy about that. We’re getting better and adding 2,000 jobs is really good, that really helps things out. That’s 2,000 more households with a paycheck.”

Paul Gonzales is a reporter at The News of San Patricio and can be reached at 361-364-1270, or by email at pgonzales@mysoutex.com.


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