Welcome, Guest
Please let us know how we can help.

Economic Analysis

May 2015

Much needed moisture arrived this month and should help out our area’s economy throughout the summer.

Retail sales this month were 5.5% higher than 2014 (Lubbock is up 8.5%). Year to date spending is up 3%. Wages are also up 3% and the job market remains moderately tight.

Jobs are still mixed. The Employers Survey shows gains of only 200 workers with gains in Transportation & Utilities and Trade & Transportation. Job losses hit manufacturing and Government. The Household Survey shows a drop of 1,600. In other Household Surveys, Lubbock is up 100 and Midland/Odessa is up 7,600.

Vehicle sales are mixed. New car sales are up 28% from last year, but used car sales are down 6%. Area auctions are reporting weaker used car prices.

Year to date Building permits are down from last year by 14% (roofs are down to 20% of the total). Residential starts are down 40% as growth has slowed; but existing home sales are up strongly pushing prices up 10% from 12 months ago.

The moisture has driven down the price of Ag commodities, but the prospects for a strong crop are better than any time in the last 5 years. Cotton prices are down 26%. Corn will need to be planted in the next 2 weeks and prices are also down 26%.

Wheat prices are down 31% and we are hearing reports that the recent rains might have been too late so the winter wheat crop will be a moderate boost to our area (see attached article “Panhandle Agricultural Survey”).

Area dairies are benefiting from the low input costs, but profit margins have shrunk from last year due to prices being down by 1/3 to $15.75.

Feedyards are less profitable even though Fat Cattle prices are up 10%. Feeder cattle are bringing in higher prices for area ranchers and the moisture will induce herd rebuilding.

The limp in Oil and Gas activity continues- there are only 19 drilling rigs in the Panhandle, down from 71 a year ago. Rigs are also being stacked in the Permian Basin and their count is down close to 80%.

Amarillo’s Leading Index is up 1% tracking 4 months of moderate increases after January’s drop. Since it has a 4 month lead, it forecasts continued upward moves through the summer. 


May 2015Current MonthLast MonthLast Year





Sales Tax Collections




Sales Tax Collection-YTD




New Vehicle Sales




Used Vehicle Sales




Vehicle Registrations (Stickers)




Airline Boardings




Hotel/Motel Receipt Tax




Population - Corporate Amarillo




Employment - CLF




Unemployment Rate




Total Workers Employed




Average Weekly Wages








Water Connection




Interest Rates: 30 Year Mortgage Rates




Building Permits Dollar Amount




Year to Date Permits




Residential Starts




Year To Date Starts




Median House Sold Price




Drilling Rigs In Panhandle




Oil Price Per Barrel




Natural Gas




Wheat Per Bushel




Fed Cattle Per CWT




Corn Per Bushel




Cotton (Cents Per Pound)









Panhandle Agricultural Survey

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas provides information annually on Agriculture in Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana. The survey showed dry land farm prices in the Panhandle averaging $793 per acre; up 7% from last year, which is the 4th highest among the increases that range from 1%-11% in the 3 states.

Irrigated farm land reached $2,123 per acre; up 8.3%, vs. an increase of 3.8% statewide. Ranch land in our area averaged $625; up 11.4%, vs 3.7% increase for the state.

Operating margins are being squeezed in farming, cattle and dairy. Corn prices are down which has put additional pressure on farmers but helps inputs into cattle and dairy.

The new Farm Bill is of limited help to producers in our area, especially cotton farmers. Even with carry-over debt, some land values have not declined.

Moisture has been good with help from the snows and recent rains. Farm products have experienced declining prices, and there has not been a big increase in farm incomes after last year’s moderate to poor results.

Feeyards are struggling with the high cost of feeder cattle but conversions have been good and some of the cattle coming out now are profitable (but at small levels). Last year’s strong profits got most in the industry healthy financially.

Dairy continues to be profitable but at much thinner margins. The good profits over the last year and a half have gotten most of this industry in very good shape. As milk prices come down, there’s hope that retail sales will increase, keeping a floor at moderately profitable levels.



*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.

Personalization Settings



Amarillo National Bank would like to personalize your banking experience. Please enter your first name below.

This level of personalization will not lead to the sale of your name or leak your identity. The information you provide will only be stored on your computer and will not be transferred to the web server.

Please do not remind again