Local economists believe 2012 was a strong year for the Tyler area, with economic confidence expected to grow this year.
There were 2,013 new jobs added to the Tyler/Smith County workforce in the past year.
The Tyler area's employment rate of 93.1 percent was the same as the rest of the state for 2012, but well above the nation's 91.9 percent.
Tyler's sales tax revenues were up 2.76 percent in 2012, compared to the year before.
Building permit activity decreased by 22.7 percent in value but increased by 3.45 percent for the number issued for the year, according to a trend report produced by the Tyler Economic Development Council.
Home sales through November last year rose 3.2 percent from the same period the year before, while the average home sale price jumped 7.31 percent from the previous year, the report shows. The report does not include December figures for 2011 or 2012.
The Tyler area's office occupancy rate decreased from 87 percent to 86 percent for 2012, but the office lease rate increased by 1.26 percent over the last year. Property values increased by 1.43 percent for the year compared to 2011, and the property tax rate of $2.077 within the city of Tyler was a 1.3 cent decrease per $100 valuation, according to the report.
“The Tyler area did well in 2012 with rising employment, sales and incomes,” Economist Dr. Ray Perryman said. “The health of the oil industry and expansion of the health care complex were major factors.
Hyponex Corp. bought a portion of the former Goodyear building, which has been vacant for years, and production of Scotts Miracle-Gro products have begun. Representatives have said they expect to have 20 to 30 full-time employees.
Mullins said that although it is not bringing in a large number of jobs, getting an empty building active again is a positive.
Pico Technologies, a diagnostic testing company in the automotive industry from Kansas, moved this summer into a facility on West Erwin Street, bringing 10 high-paying jobs. LTC Pharmacy brought a regional distribution location to Tyler, where they will employ as many as 22 people, Mullins said.
He said the Tyler Economic Development Council has been trying to emphasis attracting small technology companies with high-paying jobs to the community.
The three national companies coming into the city have brought about 70 jobs, Mullins said. “I think Tyler is a place to establish new facilities,” he said.
One of the largest developments in Tyler in 2012 was Centene Corp. announcing it would bring a new medical claims processing center here.
There are nearly 90 people working for Centene out of a renovated lease space, and construction has started on a new 50,000-square-foot facility. Centene plans to employ about 325 people when the center is up and running.
Southeastern Freight Lines unveiled its $2 million expansion at its Tyler facility last year, which added employees and services to the area.
2012 HOME SALES
Lorri Loggins, 2013 president of the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors and broker/owner of Cornerstone Brokerage LLC, said the Tyler area saw more closed sales in 2012 than it did the year before. The area has an increase of 2.4 percent, according to preliminary numbers. Ms. Loggins said that number should be higher once final figures are tallied.
“We had a very positive year,” she said. “Eight months out of 12 had more closed sales than the year of 2011.” She said the average and median home prices have both increased over 2011 by 11 percent to 12 percent.
Several local Realtors in the Lindale and surrounding areas are reporting record sales for 2012. Residential sales, as well as farm and ranch and commercial property sales, are up from years past.
“This has been a record sales year in 2012 for me personally with a major increase in sales over 2011,” said Laura Adkinson, of RealEdge Real Estate-Lindale.
Carroll BoBo, with United Country BoBo Realty, said his business was up 20 percent overall in 2012, compared to the year before, and her fourth quarter sales were the largest she had experienced in 14 years.
Jeff Andreason, a new home builder with Heritage Builders in Lindale, said his business has seen an overall 30 to 40 percent increase in business.
Ms. Loggins said the Tyler area has seen more demand. And with more demand, supply lowers and prices increase, she added.
“We are very optimistic for 2013,” she said.
“I really have a very positive feel about 2013,” Mullins said. “I think there is a lot of pent-up demand in the economy.”
Strengthening foreign markets, including the European economic recovery, have boosted the U.S. economy, Mullins said. The election settled some of the doubt about what was going to happen and the stock market was back up in the few days following the vote that avoided the fiscal cliff, he said.
Mullins believes the confidence, on both the consumer and business sides, will continue to grow. As more issues are addressed and questions answered, such as health care, Mullins thinks all of the pent-up demand will be released, and an expansion of the economy will be seen in 2013.
Locally, Perryman believes the recent expansion of beer and wine sales will provide a stimulus to Tyler in 2013. “However, it is difficult to say what the biggest factor for the coming year will be,” he said.
The area has a complex economy that is tied into the national and global economies, Perryman said. It can be impacted positively or negatively by legislative actions in Austin or Washington, as well as the situation in Europe, the behavior of oil prices or myriad other phenomena.
“At present, the outlook for the area is decidedly positive,” he said.
Perryman, founder and president of The Perryman Group, a Waco-based economic and financial analysis firm, will give his 29th Annual Economic Outlook in Tyler on Jan. 17. Perryman will give forecasts of local, state and national economies at the luncheon hosted by the Tyler Economic Development Council and the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce. It will be held at 11:30 a.m. at Green Acres Baptist Church CrossWalk Conference Center, 1607 Troup Highway.