Economic Analysis

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January 2023

Lubbock’s economy in 2022 slowed in December, down from the strong growth earlier in the year. Moderating Retail Sales, Vehicle Sales, and Construction were propped up by continued job growth and stronger tourism.

Retail sales for December 2022 are up 3% when compared to December 2021 driven by higher prices. YTD retail sales are up 10% from last year again mostly driven by higher prices. New vehicle sales saw a 13% decrease from last December. Used vehicle sales are also down 8% from last December. Both are affected by supply chain issues and increases in interest rates. The consumer-price index, a measurement of what consumers pay for goods and services, rose 6.5% last month from a year earlier, down from a 7.1% pace in November and well below a 9.1% peak in June. Ination will still be a factor in 2023 as the Fed wrestles with higher cost of goods and services and rate increases.

Hotel/motel tax collections are up 34% from last year at this time. Airline boarding’s are up 3% since December 2021. Both a re¬flection that our economy is open and regulations have softened.

Workers Employed are up 7,600 over 12 months ago on the Employer Survey and over 2,900 on the household survey. The labor force has increased 1.4% compared to December 2021, and Wages are up 5% from last year. Unemployment has gone down from 3.3% to 2.9% since last year.

Building Permits for December totaled $73,917,113, down 8% from last year. YTD totaled $2,035,149,021. Lubbock’s building activity got a big boost in 2022 showing a 140% increase over 2021, the major contributors to this building activity were the Leprino Foods plant, both UMC and Covenant Hospital expansions, the Texas Tech South End Zone expansion and various new commercial building plazas throughout the city. There were 238 new residential starts in December, down 5% from last year. YTD residential starts are 2,206 which is down almost 18% from last year. These numbers are more reflective of the historical averages for the City indicating a normalizing of this industry. The median house price for December 2022 was $245,678, up 9% from one year ago.

Although oil has increased 6% since last month, oil prices compared to last year are down 3%, and natural gas has dropped by 15%. Several indicators point to increases forthcoming in oil as China opens up and demand increases with the coming of Summer. The rig count has increased to 11 from 7 last year. For December, wheat is up 7%, corn is up 12% and cotton is down 4% when compared to December 2021. Drought conditions remain a concern for yields. Fat cattle are up 12% for the month when compared to December one year ago, and milk prices are up 9%.

 January 2023

Current Month

Last Month

Last Year

 Sales Tax Collections




 Sales Tax Collection-YTD




 New Vehicle Sales




 Used Vehicle Sales




 Airline Boardings




 Hotel/Motel Receipt Tax




 Population - Corporate Amarillo




 Employment - CLF




 Unemployment Rate




 Total Workers Employed (Household Survey)




 Total Workers Employed (Employers Survey) 




 Average Weekly Wages








Interest Rates: 30 Year Mortgage Rates




 Building Permits Dollar Amount




 Year to Date Permits




 Residential Starts




 Year To Date Starts




 Six Months Trailing




 Median House Sold Price




 Drilling Rigs In Panhandle




 Oil Price Per Barrel




 Natural Gas




 Wheat Per Bushel




 Fed Cattle Per CWT




 Corn Per Bushel




 Cotton (Cents Per Pound)












*Base-100, January 1988

This document was prepared by Amarillo National Bank on behalf of itself for distribution in Amarillo, Texas and is provided for informational purposes only. The information, opinions, estimates and forecasts contained herein relate to specific dates and are subject to change without notice due to market and other fluctuations. The information, opinions, estimates and forecasts contained in this document have been gathered or obtained from public sources believed to be accurate, complete and/or correct. The information and observations contained herein are solely statements of opinion and not statements of fact or recommendations to purchase, sell or make any other investment decisions. 



Many commodities have moved lower, some by 30% from their peaks. We analyzed the price changes over the last 3 years to get a better indication of the overall market. The drop in recent prices may indicate less panic buying and improve supply chain issues.

  2019 2020 2021 Peak Current Since 2019
Corn 4.62


5.68 8.01 6.85 +64%
Cotton 71.70 55.00 69.70 110.00 90.70 +26%
Wheat 4.55 4.22 6.54 11.78 9.27 +103%
Fat Cattle 108.92 98.50 120.00 148.00 137.00 +27%
Dairy Milk 16.75 21.50 17.50 24.50 22.50 +34%
Oil 59.60 40.80 73.03 118.78 96.30 +67%
Natural Gas 2.32 1.74 3.66 7.95 6.83 +194%

Container Shipped
from China

  $5,700   $24,000 $13,700 +106%

With inflation running to 11%, according to government figures, and 15-30% in many industries, the current environment continues to be perilous. Labor shortages are making supply issues and service issues worse.

The 10-year Treasury has stopped its upward move and has settled around 3%, down from a high of 3.4%, but double the level of last year. This usually indicates the markets have confidence in the Fed’s ability to slow inflation, especially in years 4-10. The Treasury Note is often thought of as the market’s best predictor of future rate trends.

Labor Shortages

Most businesses continue to report labor shortages, hiring problems, or workers not showing up. While better than last Winter, local businesses follow the national trend of shortages affecting output, service, and business hours. Many customers point to misguided government policies coupled with the robust Texas economy as the causes. Along with continuing supply chain issues, these forces should cushion any downturn; and the problems may be ameliorated by an economic slowdown.

Supply chain issues add to the angst. Slowing business activity should help by reducing problems of both labor shortage and supply chains.

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