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Economic Development

The Amarillo metro area will create jobs fastest through 2012, equalling statewide job growth.

Communities throughout the state are working hard to attract capital investment and create more and better-paying jobs for their residents. To this end, the High Plains’ government and economic leaders must promote their area’s work force, the quality of the schools and infrastructure and the economic incentives they can offer to attract businesses.

Services are becoming increasingly important to the economy of the High Plains region, reflecting a broader economic environment of increased competition and technological change. The region has lagged behind the rest of the country in its progression toward a service-oriented economy, due to its traditional economic supports of agriculture and oil and gas. Most of tomorrow’s jobs in the region, however, will provide services, from retail salespersons to nurses and teachers.

Hilmar Cheese Company in Dalhart, Texas
Photo Credit: Hilmar Cheese Company

But the nature of the work, and the pay provided by service jobs, vary widely. If the High Plains is to capture its share of high-paying, high-skill service jobs, it must continue providing educational and training resources.

Economic Trends

Exhibit 2 illustrates recent and expected employment growth for the High Plains region, and contrasts it with the state as a whole. These trend lines represent growth indices based on a value of 100 for 2002 annual employment.

As the exhibit indicates, the Amarillo metro area will create jobs fastest through 2012 (22.1 percent), equalling statewide job growth (22.8 percent). The region as a whole (19.5 percent) will lag slightly behind state job growth, as will the Lubbock area (20.4 percent). The rural portions of the High Plains area will create jobs more slowly than either the state average or the region’s urban areas (16.4 percent).

Exhibit 2

High Plains Region: Employment Indicies,
2002-2012

High Plains Employment Indicies

(Employment Indicies, Text Alternative)

Exhibit 3 presents High Plains employment growth indices for 10 broad industry sectors, again assuming a value of 100 for 2002. Six industry sectors are growing more rapidly than the overall regional average (19.5 percent) and should remain relatively solid sources of employment growth through 2012; these include the construction (24.0 percent), professional and business services (36.1 percent), financial activities (34.4 percent), education and health services (27.8 percent), leisure and hospitality (20.3 percent) and government (19.8 percent). Note that three of these four industries are important components of the service sector.

Two of the region’s industries, the natural resources sector and manufacturing, will fall short of overall regional employment growth. In these cases, however, a focus on employment as a measure of economic change understates their true outlook. Both industries incorporate technological and productivity-improving changes in their day-to-day operations. As such, their slow employment growth in part reflects productivity gains. The value of production in these sectors is rising much more quickly than their employment trends may indicate.

Exhibit 3

High Plains Region: Employment by Industry Sector,
2002-2012

Employment by Industry Sector

(Employment by Industry Sector, Text Alternative)

Economic Structure

A region’s economic trends reflect its underlying economic structure. This structure, in turn, is a result of the region’s competitive strengths in state, national and international marketplaces. Sometimes the underlying structure is a result of long-term factors and at other times it reflects more recent competitive strengths.

One method for revealing a region’s longer-term competitive strengths is to examine location quotients for its industries. An industry’s location quotient simply compares the share of a region’s economy attributable to an industry to the share that same industry accounts for in the nation’s economy. This comparison can be made based on employment shares or other economic factors.

In essence, the share an industry accounts for in the national economy is seen as the “norm” for that industry, so comparing that norm with the share for a regional economy indicates whether that region tends to have “a lot” or “a little” of a particular industry.

Typically, a region will contain “a lot” of industries for which it has some natural or developed competitive advantage, based for instance on a local abundance of a particular resource, climate, an advantageous natural feature (such as proximity to a port, for instance), labor skills or some other factor. Exhibit 4 presents the 50 industries with the highest location quotients, based on employment, in the High Plains region in 2007. Not surprisingly, the list contains many industries linked to agriculture and the oil and gas industry.

Exhibit 4

Industry Location Quotients
by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

Agriculture

NAICS Code Description 2007 Jobs 2007 National LQ
49313 Farm product warehousing and storage 588 20.96
31161 Animal slaughtering and processing 11,975 8.66
42459 Other farm product raw material merch. whls. 225 8.03
31121 Flour milling and malt manufacturing 369 7.48
31321 Broadwoven fabric mills 714 5.64
42452 Livestock merchant wholesalers 333 5.39
11511 Support activities for crop production 7,552 5.20
31611 Leather and hide tanning and finishing 97 4.80
42382 Farm and garden equip. merchant wholesalers 1,328 4.66
42451 Grain and field bean merchant wholesalers 574 4.64
11521 Support activities for animal production 1,018 4.55
31183 Tortilla manufacturing 212 4.27
42491 Farm supplies merchant wholesalers 1,217 3.97
11A00 Crop and animal production 27,400 3.46
31111 Animal food manufacturing 469 3.29
31122 Starch and vegetable oil manufacturing 227 2.97
33311 Agricultural implement manufacturing 592 2.74
31131 Sugar manufacturing 98 2.64
32531 Fertilizer manufacturing 147 2.25
31699 Other leather product manufacturing 100 2.15

Oil and Gas

NAICS Code Description 2007 Jobs 2007 National LQ
21111 Oil and gas extraction 9,685 9.32
21311 Support activities for mining 7,004 8.48
48611 Pipeline transportation of crude oil 136 6.48
32411 Petroleum refineries 1,127 5.73
33313 Mining and oil and gas field machinery mfg. 878 4.57
23712 Oil and gas pipeline construction 1,188 4.51
32511 Petrochemical manufacturing 251 3.25
42471 Petroleum bulk stations and terminals 268 2.89
48621 Pipeline transportation of natural gas 163 2.24
22121 Natural gas distribution 628 2.08
42472 Other petroleum merchant wholesalers 396 2.02

Other

NAICS Code Description 2007 Jobs 2007 National LQ
33141 Other nonferrous metal production 539 18.77
33651 Railroad rolling stock manufacturing 597 7.54
33299 All other fabricated metal product mfg. 3,298 6.04
52592 Trusts, estates, and agency accounts 529 5.75
52591 Open-end investment funds 993 5.70
52391 Miscellaneous intermediation 1,510 4.23
42441 General line grocery merchant wholesalers 2,429 3.77
51721 Wireless telecommunications carriers 2,295 3.60
32512 Industrial gas manufacturing 153 3.04
48211 Rail transportation 1,827 2.49
23819 Other building exterior contractors 487 2.36
51521 Cable and other subscription programming 662 2.31
23621 Industrial building construction 1,291 2.29
33242 Metal tank, heavy gauge, manufacturing 191 2.23
51223 Music publishers 53 2.23
52314 Commodity contracts brokerage 187 2.21
32518 Other basic inorganic chemical manufacturing 240 2.07
32731 Cement manufacturing 100 2.07
32721 Glass and glass product manufacturing 605 2.06

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Inc.

Cheese Plant Bringing Jobs to Dalhart

In 2007, the farm product warehousing and storage industry had the region’s highest location quotient, at 20.96, meaning that this industry’s share of regional employment is 20.96 times greater than its share of the nation’s work force. Nineteen other agriculturally linked industries in the region rank among the top 50 based on location quotients, underlining the High Plains’ dependence on agriculture.

The other clear structural pattern revealed in these location quotients is the oil and gas industry’s importance in the region. Eleven of the region’s top 50 industries are directly linked to oil and gas, either through drilling and exploration, production and transportation or processing.

The remaining 19 of these 50 industries are varied but do reflect some common themes. Transportation-linked industries reflect the region’s long-established role as a transshipment center where major north-south routes cross major east-west routes. Some industries came into being and thrived on funding from either the oil and gas industry or agriculture.

Most Competitive Industries

While the location quotient is a useful way to examine the underlying structure of a region’s economy, it does not necessarily reflect the sometimes more recent and always more dynamic trends revealed through employment changes.

A region can display some competitive advantage in industries based on the change in the industry’s presence in the region, rather than its relative size in the total employment mix. And a region can maintain a strong competitive advantage in a particular industry even when its presence in the region, in terms of its share of total employment, is declining.

Cheese Processor Comes to Amarillo

One method for uncovering the competitive dynamics of a regional economy is shift-share analysis. In this analysis, the change in an industry’s presence in a region is divided into three components: that attributable to the industry’s growth or decline above or below the national growth trend (the industry-mix effect); the portion attributable to the overall growth or decline in the nation’s economy (the national growth effect); and that attributable to the region’s competitiveness as a site for the industry (the regional competitiveness effect).

Exhibit 5 includes 50 industries in the High Plains region ranked by their competitive effect; it includes the other components of growth as well.

The first column of Exhibit 5 indicates that, for example, the High Plain’s general warehousing and storage industry added a total a 1,253 jobs from 2002 to 2007. Based on the level of employment in this sector in the High Plains in 2002 and the rate of growth of the nation’s economy, this industry in the High Plains should have added only 6 jobs. But, since the general warehousing and storage industry nationally grew at a faster rate then all industries in the nation, in the High Plains another 16 jobs added during this time for a total expected job gain of 21. Since the job gain in the region actually was 1,253 and we can only attribute a gain of 21 to other sources, this implies that the competitive advantage of the High Plains region for this industry helped to “generate” the remaining job gain of 1,232.

With a little understanding of both regional and national growth trends, the reasons for some industries’ appearance on this list become a little more apparent. Even though population growth in the High Plains region is not excessive by Texas standards, it is strong in comparison to the U.S. as a whole. This will tend to create a competitive shift toward any industry that grows with the population, such as construction, health care and even local government, because of the increased need for educational and other services.


Exhibit 5

Most Competitive Industries
by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

Rank NAICS Code Description Job Change 2002-2007 Industry Effect National Growth Effect Expected Change Competitive Effect
1 45211 Department stores 1,262 -407 236 -171 1,433
2 49311 General warehousing and storage 1,253 16 6 21 1,232
3 31161 Animal slaughtering and processing 837 -1,207 915 -292 1,129
4 55111 Management of companies and enterprises 1,074 -38 152 114 960
5 56111 Office administrative services 1,007 234 59 293 714
6 51711 Wired telecommunications carriers 39 -799 216 -583 622
7 54161 Management consulting services 854 159 100 259 595
8 56172 Janitorial services 973 119 301 420 552
9 52592 Trusts, estates, and agency accounts 517 7 1 8 509
10 49211 Couriers 561 11 57 67 494
11 21311 Support activities for mining 2,906 2,094 337 2,431 475
12 23621 Industrial building construction 427 -117 71 -46 473
13 72111 Hotels and motels, except casino hotels 594 -96 225 129 465
14 31321 Broadwoven fabric mills 188 -303 43 -259 447
15 62111 Offices of physicians 952 74 449 523 429
16 32721 Glass and glass product manufacturing 381 -55 18 -37 418
17 72241 Drinking places, alcoholic beverages 337 -175 97 -78 415
18 52393 Investment advice 561 113 36 150 412
19 52392 Portfolio management 540 52 85 137 403
20 45439 Other direct selling establishments 1,221 560 288 848 373
21 33651 Railroad rolling stock manufacturing 413 38 15 53 360
22 42399 All other durable goods merchant wholesalers 440 58 27 85 355
23 48211 Rail transportation 390 -46 118 72 318
24 23712 Oil and gas pipeline construction 454 76 60 136 318
25 52591 Open-end investment funds 303 -61 57 -4 307
26 53121 Offices of real estate agents and brokers 1,339 884 165 1,050 289
27 33441 Semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing 239 -46 18 -27 267
28 56173 Landscaping services 667 269 132 401 265
29 23812 Steel and precast concrete contractors 318 32 24 56 262
30 52429 Other insurance related activities 437 70 111 181 256
31 62231 Other hospitals 252 3 2 4 247
32 33313 Mining and oil and gas field machinery manufacturing 349 58 43 101 247
33 52412 Direct insurers, except life and health 238 -68 73 5 233
34 23832 Painting and wall covering contractors 467 151 92 243 224
35 56149 Other business support services 266 11 31 42 224
36 11521 Support activities for animal production 24 -281 82 -200 223
37 51521 Cable and other subscription programming 243 -9 34 26 217
38 31111 Animal food manufacturing 208 -25 21 -3 211
39 53112 Lessors of nonresidential buildings 402 124 74 198 205
40 81411 Private households 2,040 1,340 495 1,836 204
41 23819 Other building exterior contractors 304 92 15 107 198
42 52211 Commercial banking 481 -112 397 285 196
43 62441 Child day care services 345 -183 333 150 195
44 48423 Other specialized trucking, long-distance 247 26 32 58 189
45 42383 Industrial machinery merchant wholesalers 183 -91 94 3 181
46 44812 Women’s clothing stores 253 37 43 80 173
47 44814 Family clothing stores 387 131 86 216 171
48 44811 Men’s clothing stores 172 -3 7 4 168
49 42452 Livestock merchant wholesalers 150 -28 15 -12 162
50 49313 Farm product warehousing and storage 192 0 33 32 160

Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding.

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Inc.

Between 2002 and 2007, department stores in the region added 1,262 jobs.

This population-driven competitive shift is well illustrated in the growth of department store employment (ranked 1st). Between 2002 and 2007, department stores in the region added 1,262 jobs. Based solely on national growth trends, the region should have added only 236 of these jobs. But nationwide employment in the department store industry actually declined from 2002 to 2007. So, based on industry trends, the High Plains region should have seen an actual decline in department store employment of 407 jobs, for an estimated overall loss of 171 jobs in the region based solely on national and industry trends. Since the region posted an increase in jobs, the competitive shift effect in this industry is actually substantially larger than the observed job gain.

Joint Effort Brings Helicopter Factory to Amarillo

Exhibit 5 also illustrates the High Plains region’s shift to a service-dominated economy. Many of the region’s most highly competitive industries provide services either to businesses or to consumers. This shift to services in part reflects stronger population growth in this region than the U.S.

Finally, the exhibit notes competitive growth in the telecommunication and investment industries. This reflects growth needed to service the growing population in the Southwest as well as the growth of these industries nationwide.

Good Jobs for the Future

Given the likely industry growth and demographic changes expected in the future, what job opportunities will be available to High Plains residents?

The first consideration is that of sheer numbers. In any economy, most occupations do not offer the highest wages. Highly paid occupations are relatively few and do not exist in most occupational categories.

For the most part, the 25 occupations in the High Plains region expected to have the most openings in 2012 are somewhat low paying and do not require a degree (Exhibit 6). Job openings represent the sum of new jobs created plus hiring needed to replace existing workers.

Exhibit 6

The 25 Occupations with the Most Openings

Rank Description 2007 Jobs 2012 Jobs Total Job Openings Growth Replacement Annual Earnings
1 Cashiers, except gaming 11,905 12,452 3,578 547 3,031 $18,200
2 Retail salespersons 14,168 15,361 3,374 1,193 2,181 $22,940
3 Waiters and waitresses 7,484 8,539 3,088 1,055 2,033 $14,660
4 Customer service representatives 7,732 9,489 2,834 1,757 1,077 $27,120
5 Elementary school teachers, except special education 9,183 10,653 2,473 1,470 1,003 $54,200
6 Registered nurses 7,728 9,373 2,283 1,645 638 $52,480
7 Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food 9,251 10,561 2,187 1,310 877 $14,580
8 Personal and home care aides 5,447 6,906 1,920 1,459 461 $13,420
9 Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer 10,123 11,096 1,871 973 898 $31,380
10 Middle school teachers, except special and vocational education 3,782 5,223 1,854 1,441 413 $60,660
11 Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners 9,071 10,008 1,806 937 869 $13,940
12 Office clerks, general 9,133 10,055 1,760 922 838 $23,260
13 Slaughterers and meat packers 6,179 6,885 1,684 706 978 $18,620
14 Postsecondary teachers 5,292 6,448 1,598 1,156 442 $80,360
15 Maids and housekeeping cleaners 5,684 6,608 1,459 924 535 $13,280
16 Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 8,892 9,648 1,452 756 696 $26,640
17 Child care workers 5,362 6,022 1,430 660 770 $8,440
18 Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses 4,249 5,091 1,421 842 579 $32,500
19 Farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse 4,856 5,566 1,399 710 689 $13,440
20 Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants 4,903 6,037 1,353 1,134 219 $20,060
21 Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand 6,683 6,955 1,342 272 1,070 $24,140
22 Secondary school teachers, except special and vocational education 3,805 4,440 1,201 635 566 $58,080
23 General and operations managers 7,393 7,658 1,156 265 891 $69,580
24 Teacher assistants 4,939 5,684 1,147 745 402 $24,780
25 Real estate sales agents 3,865 4,690 1,134 825 309 $29,440

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Inc.

Only four of the top 25 occupations (elementary, middle, secondary and postsecondary teachers) require some sort of post-secondary education, compared to 27.4 percent for all occupations. The average annual wage paid to workers in these four occupations was $63,325 in 2007, a pay level nearly twice the regional average of $32,740.

Revitalization of Downtown Canadian

The Texas Certified Capital Company Program

A list of future “good” jobs, those with above average wages, however, presents a quite different picture. Exhibit 7 presents occupations that are expected to see at least 77 job openings in the region from 2007 to 2012 and that pay above-average wages. The exhibit also includes the expected educational requirements for each of these occupations.

The average annual (unweighted) pay of these 77 “good” occupations is $52,595 – 60.6 percent higher than the average for all occupations. Forty of these occupations (51.9 percent) require post-secondary education, as do 75 percent of the occupations earning $45,000 or more annually. Clearly, education and earnings will go hand in hand in the High Plains region’s job market.


Exhibit 7

“Good Jobs” for the High Plains Region’s Future

Description 2007 Jobs 2012 Jobs Job Openings Annual Earnings Education Level
Physicians and surgeons 1,294 1,464 287 $139,840 First professional degree
Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers 768 818 208 $97,540 Long-term on-the-job training
Pharmacists 658 767 166 $92,220 First professional degree
Petroleum engineers 589 652 139 $87,460 Bachelor’s degree
Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers 510 582 138 $82,660 Master’s degree
Postsecondary teachers 5,292 6,448 1,598 $80,360 Doctoral degree
Education administrators, elementary and secondary school 818 918 214 $77,820 Degree plus work experience
Medical and health services managers 670 786 179 $71,140 Degree plus work experience
Special education teachers, preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school 512 585 130 $70,520 Bachelor’s degree
General and operations managers 7,393 7,658 1,156 $69,580 Degree plus work experience
Chemical plant and system operators 378 447 150 $68,880 Long-term on-the-job training
Geological and petroleum technicians 305 349 102 $68,720 Associate’s degree
Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products 745 800 137 $67,440 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Lawyers 1,068 1,184 217 $67,300 First professional degree
Physical therapists 473 576 131 $64,300 Master’s degree
Loan officers 850 941 137 $63,240 Bachelor’s degree
Administrative services managers 589 646 135 $61,620 Degree plus work experience
Flight attendants 215 315 119 $61,580 Long-term on-the-job training
Sales managers 786 861 162 $60,940 Degree plus work experience
Middle school teachers, except special and vocational education 3,782 5,223 1,854 $60,660 Bachelor’s degree
Financial managers 1,273 1,433 253 $59,800 Degree plus work experience
Secondary school teachers, except special and vocational education 3,805 4,440 1,201 $58,080 Bachelor’s degree
Computer programmers 715 728 102 $55,900 Bachelor’s degree
Network systems and data communications analysts 344 436 127 $54,940 Bachelor’s degree
Electrical power-line installers and repairers 502 534 111 $54,600 Long-term on-the-job training
Elementary school teachers, except special education 9,183 10,653 2,473 $54,200 Bachelor’s degree
First-line supervisors/managers of production and operating workers 2,551 2,676 400 $53,920 Work experience in a related field
Network and computer systems administrators 664 767 179 $53,700 Bachelor’s degree
Kindergarten teachers, except special education 721 820 159 $53,320 Bachelor’s degree
Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents 964 1,163 323 $53,180 Bachelor’s degree
Wellhead pumpers 883 850 195 $52,820 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Registered nurses 7,728 9,373 2,283 $52,480 Associate’s degree
Chief executives 1,707 1,802 329 $52,320 Degree plus work experience
Business operation specialists, all other 1,295 1,503 277 $51,740 Bachelor’s degree
Computer systems analysts 626 730 187 $51,640 Bachelor’s degree
First-line supervisors/managers of mechanics, installers, and repairers 1,647 1,753 299 $50,120 Work experience in a related field
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists 464 553 124 $48,980 Bachelor’s degree
Medical scientists, except epidemiologists 368 441 130 $48,960 Doctoral degree
Radiologic technologists and technicians 607 720 154 $48,400 Associate’s degree
Team assemblers 1,130 1,199 186 $48,280 Moderate-term on-the-job training
First-line supervisors/managers of non-retail sales workers 1,006 1,117 183 $47,560 Work experience in a related field
Industrial machinery mechanics 1,403 1,568 282 $47,260 Long-term on-the-job training
Management analysts 1,562 1,806 377 $46,480 Degree plus work experience
Educational, vocational, and school counselors 930 1,037 199 $45,900 Master’s degree
Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products 4,049 4,325 723 $45,320 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Postal service mail carriers 790 804 130 $44,260 Short-term on-the-job training
Accountants and auditors 4,482 4,863 775 $43,900 Bachelor’s degree
First-line supervisors/managers of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators 996 1,061 167 $43,840 Work experience in a related field
Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers 1,275 1,265 129 $43,700 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Production, planning, and expediting clerks 550 588 113 $43,380 Short-term on-the-job training
First-line supervisors/managers of construction trades and extraction workers 2,940 3,088 353 $42,980 Work experience in a related field
Construction managers 2,087 2,179 254 $42,740 Bachelor’s degree
Managers, all other 925 990 157 $42,560 Work experience in a related field
Instructional coordinators 627 735 151 $42,300 Master’s degree
Sales representatives, services, all other 1,212 1,392 323 $41,080 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Automotive body and related repairers 578 633 124 $41,000 Long-term on-the-job training
Financial analysts 824 1,056 255 $39,400 Bachelor’s degree
Police and sheriff’s patrol officers 2,086 2,416 609 $39,020 Long-term on-the-job training
Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers 495 535 118 $39,000 Short-term on-the-job training
Food service managers 631 696 139 $38,900 Work experience in a related field
First-line supervisors/managers of office and administrative support workers 4,830 5,171 839 $38,560 Work experience in a related field
Roustabouts, oil and gas 1,880 1,951 380 $38,500 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers 1,710 1,858 329 $38,340 Long-term on-the-job training
Computer support specialists 1,055 1,189 297 $38,140 Associate’s degree
Automotive service technicians and mechanics 2,161 2,332 388 $37,860 Postsecondary vocational award
Mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines 691 757 133 $37,420 Postsecondary vocational award
Medical secretaries 948 1,056 183 $37,400 Postsecondary vocational award
Fire fighters 1,003 1,161 341 $37,020 Long-term on-the-job training
Electricians 1,980 2,136 411 $36,820 Long-term on-the-job training
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 1,161 1,273 232 $36,460 Long-term on-the-job training
Medical assistants 1,121 1,370 319 $36,160 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Carpenters 3,464 3,609 379 $36,000 Long-term on-the-job training
Medical records and health information technicians 432 504 131 $34,280 Associate’s degree
Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders 893 971 174 $34,240 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists 1,102 1,177 195 $34,180 Postsecondary vocational award
Insurance sales agents 3,074 3,499 759 $33,860 Bachelor’s degree
Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance 728 751 115 $32,760 Moderate-term on-the-job training

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Inc.


Going Shopping

Gross Sales and Sales Tax, High Plains, 2006

County Gross Sales Amount Subject to Tax Sales Tax
Lubbock $9,705,886,060 $2,681,860,435 $167,616,277
Moore 7,915,227,483 87,953,061 5,497,066
Potter 6,814,497,797 1,905,858,606 119,116,163
Hale 2,727,289,221 145,344,311 9,084,019
Randall 2,124,003,856 480,745,328 30,046,583
Other 6,770,378,642 1,740,990,473 108,811,905
TOTAL $36,057,283,059 $7,042,752,214 $440,172,013

Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Retail Employees and Wages, High Plains, 2005 and 2006

County Employees 2005 Total Wages 2005 Employees 2006 Total Wages 2006
Lubbock 15,215 $348,040,379 15,419 $349,265,950
Potter 9,240 204,522,626 9,154 210,652,159
Randall 4,377 104,226,709 4,619 110,112,742
Hale 1,840 41,828,326 1,464 27,510,088
Gray 1,207 22,753,085 1,069 21,649,522
Other 8,446 157,348,895 8,313 163,118,866
TOTAL 40,325 $878,720,020 40,038 $882,309,327

Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Comptroller Assistance

The Texas Comptroller’s office provides economic development information to local governments and other groups, as well as analysis of demographics, labor force and other factors that affect local economic growth. The agency runs economic models and provides analyses that identify occupational and industry trends and their effects on the regional economy via its Texas EDGE (Economic Data for Growth and Expansion) Program.

Since August 2007, the Comptroller’s office has responded to more than 150 Texas EDGE requests. Many of these came from private businesses, city and county government officials, economic development corporations and members of the media. Information requests have included demographics, economic development, economic modeling and taxes. This office also identifies business clusters and provides maps of regional infrastructure such as highways, railroads and other public facilities. For assistance, please visit www.window.state.tx.us/texasedge or e-mail texas.edge@cpa.state.tx.us.

The Comptroller’s office also identifies opportunities for local governments to raise funds for economic development efforts through property, sales and franchise tax revenues, exemptions and credits. It also provides information on special assessments and other opportunities related to disaster relief.

Agriculture is King in Deaf Smith County

The Comptroller’s Local Government Assistance and Economic Development Division provides free risk assessments to local governments. These give local officials reasonable assurance that risks to local objectives have been identified and show the controls and mitigating factors associated with each.

Finally, the Comptroller’s State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) offers free preliminary energy audits for local governments. These audits provide recommendations for reducing electricity consumption by improving the efficiency of heating, air conditioning and lighting systems. SECO can help Texas reduce state and local government energy costs and promote cost-effective clean energy technologies. See Appendix for a list of federal and state assistance programs.


Industry Profile – Agriculture

Economic regions often are supported by industries for which they have a competitive advantage, due to an abundance of a particular resource, certain climate conditions or special labor skills. Today, as it has been for decades, much of the High Plains economy is driven by agriculture.

Exhibit 8

Head of Cattle, 2007 (In Millions)

State Head of Cattle Percent of U.S.
Texas 14.0 14.4%
Nebraska 6.7 6.9%
Kansas 6.4 6.6%
California 5.5 5.7%
Oklahoma 5.3 5.5%
Missouri 4.5 4.6%
High Plains 4.2 4.3%

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cattle, cotton and grain crops dominate the region’s agriculture and account for a significant share of the state’s total production. Crop and animal production provided more than 28,000 jobs in the region in 2006.15 Farmland in the High Plains accounted for 17.5 percent of all Texas farmland in 2002. Deaf Smith and Oldham counties have the most acreage, with 964,347 and 936,390 acres respectively.

Cattle

Texas is the national leader in cattle, ranking first among states in a number of measures. Texas has more than twice as many head of cattle and calves (14 million) than Nebraska (6.7 million), the second ranked state. Likewise, Texas leads the nation in the number of cattle operations with 149,000, followed by Missouri in a distant second with 64,000. Finally, Texas ranks first in the total value of all cattle and calves with more than $11 billion at the beginning of 2007, far outpacing second place California with $6.3 billion.16

The High Plains, in turn, is the state’s leading cattle region, with nearly a third (30.1 percent) of all cattle in the state or more than 4.2 million head in 2007.17 If the High Plains were a state, it would have had the seventh-largest population of cattle in the U.S. in 2007 (Exhibit 8).18

Exhibit 9

Region’s Largest Producers of Upland Cotton
High Plains, 2006

County Planted Acres Harvested Acres Produced Bales
Hale 282,400 262,100 483,000
Lamb 207,200 193,000 339,500
Hockley 261,000 212,000 279,700
Floyd 187,200 164,000 254,400
Lubbock 266,800 193,500 247,800

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In fact, the eight largest cattle counties in the state are found in the High Plains region. Deaf Smith County has the largest number of cattle and calves with 552,000 or 3.9 percent of the state’s total head.19

Texas ranchers have seen the price paid for beef increase since 2002. The average price per pound paid for beef cattle in 2002 was $0.67. By 2006, the average price increased 31.3 percent to $0.88.20

Cotton

In 2000, cotton was the state’s leading cash crop, generating $1.6 billion for farmers and a $5.2 billion impact on the economy. Texas is the nation’s largest producer of cotton, and the High Plains produces the majority of the state’s cotton.21

The region’s farmers produced more than 3.5 million bales of upland cotton in 2006, or about 61.7 percent of the state total. The region also had more than half (57.6 percent) of the state’s harvested acres of cotton, or nearly 2.4 million acres. Hale and Lamb counties were the region’s largest cotton producers (Exhibit 9).22

Exhibit 10

Region’s Largest Producers of Wheat
High Plains, 2006

County Planted Acres Harvested Acres Produced Bushels
Dallam 122,400 58,500 1,994,000
Castro 169,200 51,800 1,986,000
Ochiltree 180,300 66,500 1,419,000
Parmer 187,700 48,100 1,398,000
Hansford 223,000 54,400 1,130,000

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Wheat

Nearly half of all Texas wheat harvested in 2006 (47.8 percent, or more than 16 million bushels) came from the High Plains. The region had 46.2 percent of all Texas harvested acres of wheat in that year. Dallam and Castro counties each produced nearly 2 million bushels of wheat, accounting for a quarter (24.8 percent) of the region’s wheat crop (Exhibit 10).23

Corn for Grain

The High Plains region is also the state’s largest producer of corn for grain. The region produced 107.4 million bushels, or 61.2 percent of the state’s share in 2006. The region’s 562,000 acres harvested accounted for 38.8 percent of the state total. Dallam and Hartley counties alone produced nearly a quarter (24.4 percent) of the state’s corn for grain (Exhibit 11).24

Sorghum for Grain

High Plains farmers harvested more than 18.7 million bushels of sorghum for grain in 2006, 30.0 percent of the state total. Ochiltree County was the region’s largest producer, with nearly 2 million bushels, followed by Deaf Smith County (Exhibit 12). In all, nearly 400,000 acres of sorghum were harvested in the region in 2006.25

Exhibit 11

Region’s Largest Producers of Corn for Grain
High Plains, 2006

County Planted Acres Harvested Acres Produced Bushels
Dallam 130,300 124,400 22,680,000
Hartley 110,000 96,300 20,063,000
Castro 78,600 63,200 12,819,000
Sherman 68,400 61,400 12,131,000
Moore 50,700 48,100 9,502,000

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Exhibit 12

Region’s Largest Producers of Grain Sorghum
High Plains, 2006

County Planted Acres Harvested Acres Produced Bushels
Ochiltree 51,800 36,200 1,974,000
Deaf Smith 85,900 44,700 1,655,000
Moore 31,200 17,850 1,435,000
Hansford 36,400 27,300 1,420,000
Carson 40,200 28,500 1,325,000

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Biofuels

The emergence of biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel is opening new markets to the region’s farmers and ranchers. Its rich resources of corn, sorghum and animal fat make the region a natural area for these emerging energy industries. Exhibit 13 highlights ethanol and biodiesel plants in the High Plains.

Exhibit 13

Ethanol and Biodiesel plants in the High Plains Region

Ethanol and Biodiesel plants by county

(Ethanol and Biodiesel Plants by County, Text Alternative)

The 2007 federal energy bill set a goal that the U.S. will annually produce 15.2 billion gallons of renewable fuels, including ethanol and biodiesel, by 2012, and 36 billion gallons by 2022.26 Also, the federal government provides subsidies for ethanol and biodiesel production and consumption.

Ethanol (ethyl or grain alcohol) is a renewable fuel used to power vehicles and is made from feedstock crops such as corn, sugarcane and other materials that can be converted into sugar. Almost all of U.S. ethanol is made from corn.27 One bushel of corn (56 pounds) can produce up to 2.8 gallons of ethanol.28

Many proponents are touting ethanol as a step toward national energy independence that also benefits the nation’s farmers and creates jobs. According to one recent estimate, a Texas ethanol plant producing 100 million gallons per year could create about 1,600 new jobs.29

U.S. ethanol production has increased dramatically over the past several years (Exhibit 14).

Ethanol has critics as well as boosters. Some argue that increased corn production for ethanol is pushing up the price of foods, animal feed and other commodities while draining precious water resources. The amount of water corn-based ethanol requires, mostly for crop irrigation, varies depending on climate, from 2,500 to 29,000 gallons of water per million Btu of energy produced. In 2002, water use at ethanol plants averaged 4.7 gallons per gallon of ethanol produced.30

The High Plains region is the center for this new industry in Texas. Every ethanol plant either opened or under construction in Texas is located in the High Plains region, with the first large-scale plant opening in Hereford, Texas, in January 2008.

Exhibit 14

U.S. Ethanol Production, 1980-2007

U.S. Ethanol Production, 1980-2007 in millions of gallons

(U.S. Ethanol Production, Text Alternative)

White Energy, Inc.’s Hereford ethanol plant is expected to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol annually from corn and milo. Much of this grain will come from local farmers. The byproducts of ethanol production will be used as cattle feed, partially offsetting the loss of corn feed. The plant’s owners estimate that the facility will provide about 40 jobs and have an economic impact of about $100 million annually.31

White Energy also has a plant under construction in Plainview that the company says will produce similar amounts of ethanol and create a similar number of jobs. The plant also will provide hundreds of construction jobs.32

Panda Ethanol, Inc., is building an ethanol plant in Hereford and planning another for Sherman County. Each plant will produce about 115 million gallons of ethanol per year from about 40 million bushels of corn. Interestingly, Panda will gasify up to one billion pounds of cow manure annually instead of using natural gas to operate each plant. Gasifying or burning manure is a way to avoid the monetary and environmental costs of its disposal. Producers usually are not paid for manure used as fuel; for example, cattle producers are planning to supply the manure to the Hereford ethanol plant for free to avoid disposal costs. Using cattle manure to produce ethanol, which in turn produces a byproduct that can be used as cattle feed, creates a unique fuel cycle.

The Hereford plant under construction is expected to employ 61, the planned Sherman plant should also create 61 jobs.33 Panda also has plans to build a plant in Muleshoe.

Biodiesel is another alternative fuel, used either as a blend with petroleum-based diesel or as a full substitute. The most common sources of biodiesel are plants (soybeans, peanuts, palm, sorghum and others), animal fats and recycled grease from cooking oils.

Texas is the country’s largest producer of biodiesel. Of 148 commercial biodiesel production plants operating in the U.S. in August 2007, 15 were in Texas, more than in any other state.34 The state produced 72.9 million gallons in 2007.35

In 2008, Tyson Foods and ConocoPhillips are partnering to produce biodiesel from beef fat. Tyson ships tallow from its Amarillo plant to a biodiesel facility in Borger. This facility is part of a strategic alliance between the two companies that is expected to produce 175 million gallons per year nationwide.36

Also using animal fat to produce biodiesel is Greenlight Biofuels, located in Littlefield in Lamb County. The Greenlight facility, opened in summer 2007, employs five people and can produce 5 million gallons of biodiesel per year. The plant also produces glycerin as a co-product.37

Brownfield Biodiesel in Ralls in Crosby County can produce 6.5 million gallons of biodiesel annually from feedstocks including canola, soybean and cottonseed. The facility also produces glycerin as a co-product that it sells to soap companies. The biodiesel itself is sold to wholesale buyers, mostly in Texas.38

These plants will boost the High Plains economy by providing new markets for its traditional industries. Local communities and business owners already have benefited from the construction of these plants.


Endnotes

  • 1 Hilmar Cheese Company, “Who We Are,” http://www.hilmarcheese.com/aboutus.cms. (Last visited February 15, 2008.)
  • 2 Kevin Welch, “Plant Ready for the Big Cheese,” Amarillo.com (June 24, 2007), http://www.amarillo.com/stories/062407/bus_7761908.shtml. (Last visited March 5, 2008.)
  • 3 Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, “New Incentives–Pacific Cheese,” http://www.amarilloedc.com/index.php?id=503. (Last visited February 15, 2008.)
  • 4 Jim McBride, “Pacific Cheese Doubles Size of Amarillo Plant Project,” Amarillo Globe-News (January 6, 2008).
  • 5 Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Texas Community Reinvestment 2007 Update (Austin, Texas, October 2007), pp. 27-28, http://www.window.state.tx.us/comptrol/cra07/96-643.pdf. (Last visited March 6, 2008.)
  • 6 Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, “The Bell Helicopter Story,” http://www.amarilloedc.com/index.php?id=126 (last visited September 24, 2007); and Frank Colucci, “Local Investment in Osprey Pays Off by Creating Jobs,” National Defense (March 2004), http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/issues/2004/Mar/Local_Investment.htm. (Last visited March 5, 2008.)
  • 7 John Morthland, “O, Canadian!” Texas Monthly (September 2004).
  • 8 Abraham Trading Co., “About,” http://www.abrahamtrading.com/about2.htm. (Last visited March 3, 2008.)
  • 9 South Plains Mall, “Property Description,” http://www.southplainsmall.com/leasing.asp. (Last visited September 21, 2007.)
  • 10 Jones Lang LaSalle, Westgate Mall, “Statistics and Demographics,” Plano, Texas, March 6, 2007. (Fact sheet.)
  • 11 U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Texas Cattle Inventory and Milk Production by County,” http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Texas/Publications/County_Estimates/cecatt1.htm. (Last visited March 3, 2008.)
  • 12 Interview with Bob Josserand, mayor of Hereford, Texas, February 28, 2008.
  • 13 Interview with Bob Josserand, mayor of Hereford, Texas, February 28, 2008.
  • 14 Scott Norris, “New Ethanol Plants Fueled by Cow Manure,” National Geographic (Washington, D.C. August 18, 2006); Panhandle Regional Planning Commission, 2006 Annual Report (Amarillo, Texas, May 2007), http://www.prpc.cog.tx.us/2006_annual_report.pdf; and Panda Ethanol, “Breaking Ground on 115 Million Gallon Ethanol Plant in Hereford,” http://www.pandaethanol.com/facilities/hereford/index.html. (Last visited September 15, 2007.)
  • 15 Data provided by EMSI. EMSI is an analysis platform for economic research.
  • 16 U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Agriculture, 2006 Texas Agricultural Statistics (Austin, Texas, October 2007), p. 25.
  • 17 U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, “Quick Stats–U.S. and All States County Data,” http://www.nass.usda.gov/QuickStats/Create_County_All.jsp. (Last visited March 5, 2008.) A custom query was created.
  • 18 U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, “Quick Stats–U.S. and All States County Data”; and U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2006 Texas Annual Statistics Bulletin (Washington, D.C., October 2007), pp. 25-27, http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Texas/Publications/Annual_Statistical_Bulletin/bull2006.pdf. (Last visited March 5, 2008.)
  • 19 U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Agriculture, 2006 Texas Agricultural Statistics (Austin, Texas, October 2007), p. 31.
  • 20 U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Agriculture, 2006 Texas Agricultural Statistics (Austin, Texas, October 2007), p. 13.
  • 21 The Texas A&M University System, The Agriculture Program, “Cotton in Texas,” http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/cropbriefs/cotton.html. (Last visited March 6, 2008.)
  • 22 U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, “Quick Stats–U.S. and All States County Data.”
  • 23 U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, “Quick Stats–U.S. and All States County Data.”
  • 24 U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, “Quick Stats–U.S. and All States County Data.”
  • 25 U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, “Quick Stats–U.S. and All States County Data.”
  • 26 Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, U.S. H.R. 6, 110th Congress (2007.)
  • 27 Texas State Energy Conservation Office, “Energy Crops for Fuel,” http://www.seco.cpa.state.tx.us/re_biomass-crops.htm. (Last visited January 16, 2008.)
  • 28 U.S. Department of Agriculture, An Analysis of the Effects of an Expansion in Biofuel Demand on U.S. Agriculture (Washington, D.C., May 2007), p. 3, available in Word format at http://www.usda.gov/oce/newsroom/chamblissethanol5-8-07.doc. (Last visited November 19, 2007.)
  • 29 Renewable Fuels Association, Contribution of the Ethanol Industry to the Economy of the United States, by John M. Urbanchuck (Washington, D.C., February, 21, 2006), p. 9, http://www.ethanolrfa.org/objects/documents/576/economic_contribution_2006.pdf. (Last visited January 16, 2008.)
  • 30 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Demands on Water Resources (Washington, D.C., December 2006), pp. 61-62, http://www.netl.doe.gov/technologies/coalpower/ewr/pubs/DOE%20energy-water%20nexus%20Report%20to%20Congress%201206.pdf. (Last visited February 14, 2008.)
  • 31 White Energy, “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” http://www.white-energy.com/hereford.aspx. (Last visited February 13, 2008.)
  • 32 White Energy, “Our Hereford Plant’s Next Door Twin,” http://www.white-energy.com/plainview.aspx. (Last visited February 13, 2008.)
  • 33 Panda Ethanol, “Breaking Ground on 115 Million Gallon Ethanol Plant in Hereford,” http://www.pandaethanol.com/facilities/hereford/index.html (last visited February 13, 2008); and Panda Ethanol, “Sherman County Selected to Host Panda’s Second Texas Ethanol Plant,” http://www.pandaethanol.com/facilities/sherman/index.html. (Last visited February 13, 2008.)
  • 34 Texas State Energy Conservation Office, “Biodiesel Fuel,” http://www.seco.cpa.state.tx.us/re_biodiesel.htm. (Last visited February 14, 2008.)
  • 35 Interview with Allen Regehr, financial analyst, Young Farmer Loan Program and Biofuels Incentive Program, Texas Department of Agriculture, Austin, Texas, February 25, 2008. (Note: Data was for state fiscal 2007).
  • 36 ConocoPhillips, “ConocoPhillips and Tyson Foods Announce Strategic Alliance To Produce Next Generation Renewable Diesel Fuel” April 16, 2007, http://www.conocophillips.com/newsroom/news_releases/2007news/04-16-2007.htm. (Last visited February 14, 2008.)
  • 37 Interview with Mitchell Elliott, Greenlight Biofuels, Ltd., Lubbock, Texas, February 13, 2008.
  • 38 Interview with Jeff Dunn, owner, Brownfield Biodiesel, LLC, Ralls, Texas, February 13, 2008.
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