Amarillo sees impact of last quarter’s shrunken U.S. Economy | KAMR

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The United States’ economy shrank last quarter for the first time since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Matt Ramsey, the senior vice president and senior investment officer at Amarillo National Bank, said the Texas Panhandle is not immune to the effects of inflation. However, the area has seen a small benefit.

“The Amarillo economy is actually pretty strong. Inflation hurts, but as I said, we do benefit from that slightly because of our nature for agricultural business and energy,” said Ramsey. “That being said, our unemployment rate is 2.7% versus the national level, which is 3.6%. So we have a strong employment backdrop, and that’s helping the consumer along.”

Ramsey added Amarillo is seeing an increase in tourism and spending money in the area, which helps the local economy.

Ramsey said inflation is kind of new to everyone. He said it has been 40 years since people has seen this type of inflation, so it is something people are trying to get their minds around.

“We’re going to have to get used to separating things out from are these price increases due to inflation, or do they do to increase profits or, or what’s the mix here? So it’s going to be it’s going to be something that we’re going to have to get used to,” said Ramsey.

Because of the ongoing inflation, the Federal Reserve made the decision to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate Wednesday. According to reports by the Associated Press, the Fed raised it to a range of 0.75% to 1%, the largest increase since 2000.

Officials expect the Fed to likely follow the move with the fastest pace of hikes in 30 years, which could impact residents of the Texas Panhandle.

“The consumer will struggle with higher energy and food prices, and there will be a need for them to watch the budget and make sure that they’re spending things dilute spending their money deliberately,” Ramsey said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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