From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

Retail is about 12 percent of Augusta's jobs

A moment to put something into perspective.

 

Retail represents 11.8 percent of the employment in Augusta metro area.

 

A lot of excitement was generated about the coming of Cabela’s, Whole Foods and Bass Pro Shops. Those are hundreds of jobs coming to the area that weren’t here before, and, individually, they will matter to the people who get them.

 

In the big picture, though, when you add in all the jobs from the new announcements it moves the needle 0.2 percent.

 

Augusta is a government town. Government jobs represent 21.2 percent of the jobs in the metro area. Professional and business services are the next highest concentration. Predominantly, those are the contractors at Fort Gordon.

 

Augusta has a typical concentration of retail jobs compared with other Georgia metro areas. Retail is 11.6 percent of Savannah’s total employment. It’s 11.1 percent in Columbus and 10.8 percent in Atlanta.

 

MORTGAGE RATES: According to Bankrate, which sends out a weekly interest rate report, the average for a 30-year mortgage in Augusta is 4.69 percent, higher than the national average of 4.56 percent. The 15-year mortgage is similar: 3.73 percent in Augusta and 3.62 percent nationally. A 1-year adjustable rate? Nada. Bankrate says no one in Augusta is offering it. But the interest rate is 2.99 percent nationally.

 

MORTGAGE CREDIT: There’s an index that measures the availability of mortgage credit. Its not localized, no the results are all national.

 

The Mortgage Bankers Association runs it and reports that the July index was an increase over June and that the index has been higher for five straight months. It means credit standards are getting looser.

 

The increase in the Mortgage Credit Availability Index in July was primarily driven by increases in product offerings that allow cash-out refinancing, and some increase in offerings for borrowers with higher loan-to-value loans and lower credit scores.

 

THAT $5 MILLION JAM: What’s the economic impact of summertime basketball tournaments such as the Nike Peach Jam and Peach State Summer Showcase? The Augusta Sports Council says they all result in $5 million in total direct visitor spending from the basketball tournaments held throughout Augusta during July.

 

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