The Panhandle economy continues to strengthen, carried by strong retail sales, growing jobs and stable commodity prices.
Retail sales for the month are up 6% compared to 2017 and year to date sales are up 4%. New car sales are up 5% and used car sales are up 14%. Airline boardings are up 7% from 12 months ago but the Hotel/Motel Tax collections are down 4%.
Amarillo’s Employers’ Survey shows an adjusted increase of 2,800 jobs from last year. The Household Survey’s adjusted number is an increase of 2,500 jobs. Wages are up 4% and we will watch this number along with inflation to see if they are in line.
Building permits are up 89% from a year ago. Large projects in this number are restaurants, a tractor supply store and an athletic facility on Amarillo Boulevard. Year to Date permits are up 12% from 2017.
Home construction is up in Amarillo with 46 residential starts last month, up from 28 starts 12 months ago. Year to Date Starts (482) are up 21% from last year. 30 year Mortgage rates are 5.25%.
Wheat prices are up 29% from a year ago and the recent moisture bodes well for winter wheat. Corn prices are up 6%. Cotton is being harvested right now and prices are up 11% although the crop isn’t expected to perform this year.
Feedyards are operating below break evens with prices at $114, down 8% from last year. Dairies are right above breakeven with milk prices at $15.
Oil and gas is mixed this month. There are 25 drilling rigs in the Panhandle, 7 more than this time last year. Oil is down around $56, while natural gas prices are going higher. Our area production is seeing this price come their way and some are expecting to get strong hedge positions out of this price spike.
Amarillo’s Cost of Living Index is up just over 3% year to date.
*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.
© Amarillo National Bank. All Rights Reserved. NMLS #644528