Less jobs, flat retail sales, and lower commodity prices are keeping with the trend of an economic slowdown for our area.
Employment surveys are showing that there are less people working in Amarillo. The Household Survey shows we are down 1,200 jobs and the Employer’s Survey has us down 1,100 jobs. The unemployment rate ticked up from 2.7% last month to 2.8%. Wages are up 2.9% from a year ago.
Retail sales are flat with 12 months ago. Year to Date retail sales are up 1.7%. Compared to last August, new car sales are up 4% and used car sales are up 1%.
Housing construction is slower than last year. There were 38 residential starts last month and there were 46 in August 2018. Year to date starts are down 27% from 2018.
Overall construction is down 19% from last year with no big projects breaking ground.
Oil and Gas activity has slowed down. There are 15 drilling rigs in the Panhandle, down from 25 last summer. Oil prices are steady at $60.
Natural Gas prices remain stuck in a supply glut at $2.41. In the Permian Basin, there is so much gas and not enough pipeline to transport it. Some producers are getting $0.25/BTU while others are paying haulers to transport their gas. Gas prices will remain low for quite some time.
Commodities are having a rough summer. Wheat is down 13%. Corn, which will begin its harvest this month, us up 22% from a year ago. Area farmers are nervous about their cotton crops and prices are down 7%.
Cattle prices are flat with last year. A major packing plant in Kansas was shut down last week, and will put a strain on Fat Cattle prices in the near term. Dairies are profitable at $17 milk.
*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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