AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo economy is off to a slow start in 2020, according to an economic analysis by Amarillo National Bank.
ANB’s analysis for January 2020 shows Amarillo’s economic pulse at its lowest point in recent years.
Matt Harkins, ANB vice president of wealth management, said the demand for commodities is low, in this commodity-driven economy.
“Cattle prices are flat, still profitable as a lot of their input costs are flat or even down,” Harkins said. “Wheat and cotton prices are down a little down, corn prices remain flat. Auto sales both used and new are down just a little bit.”
Harkins said the oil and gas industry will face a challenging year, too.
“Oil and gas, we’re not really seeing the catalyst there. The demand is really going to have to pick up to get higher prices there and to get more people in the oil fields,” Harkins added.
On the plus side, Harkins said according to one report, there are 500 more jobs now compared to last year.
“Most of that is just a supply and demand type issue, especially when you’re talking about the commodities and that goes to more of a global situation, rather than just here in Amarillo,” said Harkins.
The ANB report also shows that retail sales are up and consumers are still spending.
“Our prediction is that over the year after we remove some of those uncertainties that float around out there, that that demand will pick up and we’ll see an increase in those areas,” said Harkins.
Harkins said he believes the slow start is something the Amarillo economy can make up in the back half of the year as uncertainties are expected to clear up after the presidential election.
One area that remains steady and hopeful here in Amarillo is the housing market. Mitzi wade, the chairman of the Amarillo Association of Realtors, Inc., said it is thanks in part to low-interest rates.
“I think we have a very positive outlook compared to last year,” Wade said. “Basically, if you’re ready to sell your house, you better get it ready because it will sell. We have buyers out there looking.”
Another area that remains stable is job growth. The Texas Workforce Commission’s most recent data shows the unemployment rate in Amarillo at 2.3%, the lowest in the state.
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