The City of Amarillo has a population of nearly 200,000. It is a regional center for the 26 counties of Texas Panhandle as well as portions of the surrounding 4 states. Amarillo has provided the region with shopping, culture and entertainment for a century. Currently, Amarillo has the lowest unemployment rate in Texas and its economy is growing and experiencing a revitilization of its historic area downtown. Amarillo provides a low cost of living and boasts one of the lowest property tax rates in the state of Texas. Amarillo offers a high quality of life as well as a diverse economy which offers many opportunities, especially in manufacturing, aerospace, logistics, technology and energy production.
Amarillo’s Economic Development Manager assists the City’s Manager Office as well as the City Council in defining opportunities that are partnered with others in the community and expand the City’s tax base, support the growth of jobs, as well as the clarification of policies and guidelines related to incentives.
According to a study that was commissioned by the City of Amarillo and Amarillo EDC, Amarillo is in general headed towards a successful economic future, but there are aspects of Amarillo’s infrastructure that need to be addressed. The study charted 900 people in Randall and Potter county and analysed Amarillo’s workforce, economy and infrastructure as well as other factors that contributes to an average person’s quality of life in the city.
The most important requirements that need to be taken care of are a skilled workforce, and this is congruent with national trends. Education is of course the major factor that directly relates to developing and retaining a skilled workforce. The way to address this problem is to create good educational facilities that will in turn lead to better tertiary education. 90% of the site selectors in business name a skilled workforce as their top priority.
The study also found that there was an issue with the AEDC. Over the past two years it has been debated often which type of economic development corporation has been best for Amarillo, type A or type B. Amarillo is a type A economic development and will remain that way. The study proves that the AEDC has been successful in the past and it will remain that way. One of the main issues of the study is that Amarillo is losing people in the workforce as they don’t even have a high school diploma, proving the main problem found in the study, a lack of education.
While Amarillo has been a hub for agricultural growth, the establishment of A&M University, West Texas, Texas Tech Health Services and Amarillo College, has seen more young professionals heading into the city to further their education and experience. This has seen a shift in Amarillo becoming a melting pot for business professionals, entrepreneurs and industry leaders.
The labor force in Amarillo is shrinking, in the past five years it has grown only 0.8%, which is below the national average and the reason for this may be that Amarillo residents often leave Amarillo for larger cities.