Job losses slowing Amarillo economy

by Larry Lemmons
Newschannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - The economic outlook for Amarillo is somewhat gloomy according to the Amarillo National Bank's monthly analysis.

Also, ANB President, Richard Ware says he's surprised by the FDIC's call for prepayment of bank insurance premiums to shore up the deposit insurance fund, which is shrinking.  That's never been done before.  Ware says, ""Nearly all banks will be able to do it. It's going to hurt the earnings a little bit. But still, it's a good thing to keep the system sound. And it's just a shame that they let some of these banks in other parts of the country get in such bad shape."

That's just one way the national economy is making an impact on us. Despite the fact that Amarillo is healthier than most, indications are showing some disturbing trends.

In the last year nearly three-thousand jobs have been lost.  Ware says, "Job losses are what are affecting all of us. And as people lose their jobs and a lot of people are working less hours. So there's less disposable income that cuts every other thing. so we'll watch the jobs and see if it'll flatten out here. That'd be the sign that we're near the bottom."

The Amarillo City Commission chose not to raise taxes this year primarily because they've been seeing sales taxes decline.

The City's Manager of Finance, Dean Frigo says, "Last year collections were 43,813,000. This year collections were 43,633,000. And that's not bad in and of itself. I guess the concern is we've had three bad months in a row."

ANB is reporting a 13% decrease in Hotel/Motel tax collections and a steep decline in travel and tourist activity.  Average weekly wages are down nearly fifty-dollars from last year.