Various components of the local economy, including the sales tax, rate of the sales tax, and the conversion to a dollar amount make up the Amarillo Economic Index. It is this chart that local economist, Karr Ingham, used to display the growth that Amarillo is seeing that has surpassed the city??s peaks before the recession.
??If you didn??t think we had a recession in Amarillo, you??re wrong, we did,?? said Ingham. ??It really wasn??t until the latter part of 2010 that we saw this growth run. It was only last year in 2013 that the Amarillo economic index finally made its way back to its prerecession high point. So it took us a while to get over that recession. ??
The chart shows a steady growth between 2003 and 2008. Then, of course, the drastic dip of the recession. Now, statistics show steady increases in employment as well as decreases in unemployment rate. The residential housing industry continues to grow successfully and industries such as oil, gas, agriculture and industry continue to bring prosperity to the area.
??When you??ve got job growth and spending growth, you essentially have a growing economy. So we??ve got all of that and we??ve filled in the pieces with construction and our housing market and automobiles sales and things of that nature as well,?? said Ingham.
Executive vice president of Amarillo National Bank, William Ware, said that the economy of Amarillo is resilient, not only due to its geographic isolation but due to the people of the area and their understanding of how to weather conflicts. He believes the diversity of the area, as well as the codependence on outlying regional towns, makes the economy unique and strong.
??I think what sets us apart is our diverse economy. Although agriculture is one of the strongest sectors of our economy, we have got great manufacturing, high quality manufacturing, high paying jobs that really set us apart. We??ve also been buoyed by an energy boom in the north and east texas panhandle and that??s been wonderful. And so, you add all of that plus a really strong medical sector and we??re a very unique community in that regard,?? said Ware.
Ware also said that local businesses continue to be thread of the city, further enhancing the strengthened economy.
??We stick together and we work together and we focus on what??s best for the community, and that??s what sets us apart,?? said Ware.
He said the cattle market is doing extremely well in the area and with the rain, the agriculture industry is seeing growth and success as well.
He and Ingham both agree that the Panhandle can expect steady, but moderate, economic growth looking forward.