Hailstorm brings unexpected boost to Amarillo economy

The Amarillo National Bank gave their 2014 economic forecast and reviewed the Amarillo economy in 2013.

Retail sales were up about 8 percent, building permits were up, and car sales were the highest they've been in a decade, according to ANB.

The hailstorm in May gave an unexpected boost to the economy, according to Patrick Ware, vice president of ANB.

"The damage brought in a lot of construction jobs, lot of remodels, ancillary business to Amarillo. You saw a lot of out of town contracting customers, using our hotels, eating at our restaurants, buying gas at our convenience stores," Ware said.

But as these benefits wear off, 2014's economy will see a slower start.

William Ware, Executive Vice President of ANB said the economy will level off during the first quarter of this year.

The number of houses sold is expected to decrease as new federal laws make it more difficult for people to qualify for mortgage loans. Construction is also going to see a decrease this year.

In 2014, unemployment is predicted to decrease from 4.7 percent in 2013 to 4.5 percent.

Job growth, however, will be slower.

The service and health care industries will see a lot of job growth throughout the year.

Overall, ANB said Amarillo's economy is insulated from national and statewide trends.

They said this can be contributed to the diversity of industries in the area.