Flat retail sales, slower job growth, and less drilling activity kept Amarillo’s economy in a stall for the first quarter of 2019.
Retail sales are up 2% from a month ago, but are down year to date compared to 2018. Car sales had a horrible month, with Used Car sales down 41% and New Car sales down 27%.
Airline Boarding's were up 5% from last year, and Hotel/Motel Tax collections were up 2%.
Both the Household Survey (+88 jobs) and the Employers’ Survey (+100 jobs) are flat with last year. The slowdown in job growth will hit construction, housing, and retail sales, as we go through the year. Lubbock’s Household Survey shows an increase in 2,000 jobs and their Employers’ Survey is up 1,900. Midland/Odessa’s Household Survey is up 8,000 jobs from this time last year and the Employers’ is up 9,200.
Construction is nearly double in 2019 compared to 2018. There is a lot of residential remodels, improvements to business buildings and a Church being built. Housing Starts are nearly flat with 12 months ago, and year to date are down 29%. April’s lower mortgage rates should alleviate some of the less than good economic news and stabilize Amarillo’s housing market.
Drilling activity is down 50% in the Panhandle. There are 10 Drilling Rigs operating compared to 20 a year ago. Lower Natural Gas prices (flat with last year at $2.85) are mostly to blame. Constraints placed on the Panhandle Natural Gas Market come mostly from a yearlong interruption in operations at a major Panhandle Gathering Plant. Oil prices are stable at over $60 per barrel.
Wheat prices are down 10%; cotton is flat; and corn is down 2%. We are in a much better moisture position today than we were a year ago.
Cattle prices are up 5% from a year ago, and break-even are around $121, so Feed yards are profitable.
Dairies are operating just at breakeven and have been for a while now. Higher supply is pushing milk prices down, but area Dairies have done a good job deleveraging over the last decade.
*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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