Sharply higher commodities and job growth pushed Amarillo’s economy ahead during the last month, with increases in most of our categories.
Retail Sales are up a strong 18% from last year and the YTD is up 15%. About half of this is probably inflation. Constrained supply has reduced vehicle sales: New vehicles down 25% and Used down 20%
Tourism continues its rebound, with Airline Boardings up 26% and Motel Tax up 13% (much of that is probably higher room rates).
The employment situation continues tight, with 2.7% unemployment being the lowest in Texas. 3,500 more people are employed on the Household Survey and 4,200 more on the Worker’s Survey. Weekly wages are reported up 4.5% for Amarillo.
Mortgage rates (up 200 basis points) will have a negative effect on the housing market, but the tight supply continues. Residential Starts were 46, up from 25 a year ago, with the YTD starts at 186, up from 117. Median house price is 4.5% higher. Total Building Permits are down 14% (and 71% YTD). Some of the big projects were last year.
Our Energy sector is booming, with Oil up 70% to $106 and Natural Gas made a recent pop to $7, up 174% from a year ago. Drilling Rigs bounced up to 6, from 4 last month and 5 a year ago.
Farm prices are excellent, but lack of rain will hurt yields. Wheat prices are up, but the wheat crop will be terrible in most areas. Corn prices are up 27% from last year and Cotton 38% and Milk 36%. Cattle prices are up 27%, but input costs in all areas of agriculture are up strongly.
The inflation is juicing these numbers and making economic activity appear stronger than it actually is; but times continue to be good for most businesses. The Labor Market continues to be tight.
*Base-100, January 1988
This document was prepared by Amarillo National Bank on behalf of itself for distribution in Amarillo, Texas and is provided for informational purposes only. The information, opinions, estimates and forecasts contained herein relate to specific dates and are subject to change without notice due to market and other fluctuations. The information, opinions, estimates and forecasts contained in this document have been gathered or obtained from public sources believed to be accurate, complete and/or correct. The information and observations contained herein are solely statements of opinion and not statements of fact or recommendations to purchase, sell or make any other investment decisions.
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