2008 Amarillo Economic Outlook

Amarillo National Bank presented its 2008 Economic Outlook Monday afternoon. President Richard Ware says 2008 could be a bad year, but it looks promising.

2007 saw a record year for farming in our area, a pace that could be hard to keep in '08.

"The farmers had the world's best year last year. The stars are lined up with good rain, high prices and great yields. That can't continue. If the moisture works, that could help farming," said Ware.

The price of oil rising has had a positive impact for many people in the area, but it could still have a negative impact.

"What gasoline sucks out of the economy is really going to make an impact. It's going to hurt retail sales, and probably some housing. People feel poor," added Ware.

The housing problem that has plagued the country did affect Amarillo, but not as severely as much of the country.

"Sub prime in Amarillo is some of the lowest in the U.S.,maybe 10%. We didn't have a bunch of out of town lenders making the loans the local lenders did."

Amarillo saw fewer workers in 2007, but Ware says our 3.1% unemployment rate is low. Also, workers saw an average wage increase of 8%.

Even though 2008 could be a down year, Ware likes where Amarillo stands.

"Overall, Amarillo's economy has the diversification as far as other places go. We have more manufacturing jobs than Lubbock does. That's a good base for us to build on."