KBTX Interviews Dennis Jansen on Unemployment and Housing Industry

Oct 21, 2020
Summary: Dennis Jansen spoke about indicators of the local economy and housing market in an interview on KBTX news on Tuesday, October 21, 2020.
As Aggieland plays host to an increased number of visitors to the area, unemployment insurance claims dropped to their lowest level since mid-March for the week ending on September 26, 2020 at 224 claims.
When asked whether this trend will continue, Jansen said “I think [unemployment insurance claims] might go lower, but I’m not sure how much lower. There’s been some relaxed restrictions on restaurants and bars that should lead to reduced unemployment claims and more hiring in industries related to bars, restaurants and even hotels… We’re definitely better off in the last four weeks than at any other point since the week of March 14, and that was when claims were 92, before all of the closures of the economy during the pandemic. So, we’re still running at over twice what we were pre-pandemic, but they are much lower than any other four week period since that date.”
Speaking about the importance of local air travel as an indicator of the economic health of College Station-Bryan, “Air travel at Easterwood [airport] is only 35 to 45% of last year’s level for the comparable months and that’s better than the national numbers. Air travel is an important indicator of a return to some sort of normalcy with respect to what’s happening at Texas A&M, both football, but [also] just normal Texas A&M operations. And I think once we see an increase in the number of travelers from Texas A&M to give seminars, to give speeches, and once we see an increase in A&M faculty and others travelling to other places, then those number will pick up some more. It’s important when those travelers come to the local area, they certainly purchase meals and lodging in this area.”
According to the October issue of Economic Indicators, the housing industry continues to grow at a fast pace, with increases in both the number of pending sales contracts for single-family homes and the average list price over the same period in 2019.
“There’s a steady number of single-family housing permits in the local area from about 2015 to the present, and fairly steady values for those permits, although not as high as 2015 to 2016. So, in terms of local sales, the pending contracts in 2020 have soared well higher than the 2019 levels, and that was over the summer. Finally, local housing prices are up from about $358,000 to $375,000. So, it’s a strong local housing market, that’s for sure” said Jansen.
To see the full interview on KBTX, click here.