County’s economy saw continued positive trends in August

Photo by Norman Schimmel

The total number of permits Sarasota County staff approved in July for single-family homes was just four higher than July 2011 total, but the value of the construction had more than doubled, according to the August economic report of the county’s Office of Financial Planning.

The 45 single-family home projects that won building permits in July had an estimated value of $14,919,000, compared to the July 2011 figure of $6.218 million for 41 projects.

Although the number of permits approved was down almost 62% from June’s number, 117, the value of construction was down less than 2%.

Home sales were up 16.7% for July compared to that month in 2011, the data show. Realtors sold 699 homes in July, compared to 599 in July 2011. The median price had increased 12.4% — from $157,450 to $177,000, according to the Sarasota Association of Realtors.

The average days on the market increased 1.1% year-over-year, however, from 187 in July 2011 to 189 in July this year. Nonetheless, that was an improvement over the June average of 198 days on the market.

Conversely, the median price was higher in June, at $186,750.

In other positive news, passenger traffic remained up at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

SRQ saw a 10% increase in deplanements year-over-year for July — from 43,069 in July 2011 to 47,377 this July.

The number of people boarding planes at the airport also was up, 9.4% year-over-year for July — from 44,616 to 48,810.

The July figure for deplanements was up just a bit from June’s figure of 47,151. The number of people boarding planes at SRQ also was higher in July than in June, when the number was 48,288.

The county’s gross retail sales revenue, unaudited, was up only 1.5% from May 2011 to May this year — the latest month for which figures were available. In May 2011, the figure was $949.75 million, compared to $964.06 for May this year.

The number of people reporting they were out of work fell 17.3% from July 2011 to July 2012 — from 17,503 to 14,481. However, economists caution that some people stop looking for work if they become discouraged after failing to find jobs over a period of time.

Still, the number of unemployment claims fell 26.7% in Sarasota County from July 2010 to July this year, from 1,346 to 986.

The total number of people holding jobs in the county in July was reported at 146,783, up 2.2% year-over-year.

The Sarasota County labor force figure was up slightly from July 2011 to July this year, from 161,109 to 161,264, or 0.1%.

The report notes that these figures do not reflect data from about 40,000 sole proprietors.

The county’s unemployment rate in July was 9%, compared to 10.8% a year earlier but up from 8.7% in June.

The statewide unemployment rate in July was 9.3%, compared to 10.6% a year earlier and 9% in June. The U.S. jobless rate in July was 8.6%.