New research study findings to help city leaders with economic development in Amarillo

New research study findings to help city leaders with economic development in Amarillo
Downtown Amarillo (Source: KFDA)

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Continuing to rebound from a local recession in 2016, much of Amarillo's economy is on the upswing -- and city officials hope to continue that.

"Just this past year alone, we're seeing higher income growth – jobs – with multiple different companies and mainly companies that are already here," said Barry Albrecht, President of the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation. "They're growing and they're taking advantage of one of the lowest costs of living in the country."

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The Amarillo EDC says the research was needed, so they brought in an economist to do the job.

"We knew we needed it," said Albrecht. "We wanted to find out what is our labor force, what are our income levels, what's our growth trends, how do we compare to the United States, how do we compare in Texas. It's more than just demographics."

That economist, Mark Snead of RegionTrack, says the research shows good trends for Amarillo.

"The story in Amarillo is quite good," said Snead. "The region experienced some economic softness in late '16 and early '17 but it has bounced back, and it's back on a growth path."

The new data also shows people commuting for work in the area -- both into the city and out of it.

"We recognize now that we have a lot of people that work in our city that don't necessarily live in our city and we have people that leave, they live in our city but they leave to work, either driving to a surrounding smaller town or community," said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson.

The Amarillo EDC says this makes for a bigger workforce availability in the region.

"We've discovered through this research, which is a first-time product of AEDC, we've discovered that we have a bigger workforce availability to our region," said Albrecht. "We've got a healthy amount of workforce that is coming in from further distances to work and also to shop here."

Mayor Nelson says the city will learn from this new data and put the findings to good use.

"We'll be using this data, along with educational partners in the community and the Economic Development Corporation to expand how we're recruiting workers and how we're recruiting businesses."

The research data also found that while job losses were confined almost exclusively to Potter County, Randall County had consistent job gains.

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