Reagan Hales

What Exactly Is Economic Development?

Texas is one of the best states in the nation for business, and Amarillo is one of the Lone Star State’s most thriving cities. With a skilled labor force, reasonable regulations, and low tax rates, it’s never been more appealing for business owners to hang their shingles high above Amarillo's skyline. With a low unemployment rate, and job growth expected to exceed 36% in the next decade, now is the time to look to Texas as you prepare to build your business.


In 1989, after a battling a downturn in oil prices for almost a decade, the Texas legislature recognized that it was necessary to diversify the state’s economy so as to ensure that critical services and infrastructure could be provided for years into the future. That year, the Texas Department of Commerce was established by the legislature and since then, the state’s network of economic development organizations has grown and expanded to include numerous cities throughout the state whose purpose is to encourage economic and infrastructure growth.

In 1990, the citizens of  Amarillo were among the first in the state to vote in approval to create an Economic Development. Corporation. The Amarillo EDC is a 501(C)3 organization that works closely with the governor's office and other regional and community partners to determine the best ways to attract 21st century business to the High Plains.

How Do EDCs Impact Texas?

Since establishing an aggressive economic development strategy, Texas has received numerous awards for its record in corporate recruitment and job creation. Texas leads the country in everything from energy production, exports and agriculture. In fact, Texas has been so successful that many states have modeled their own business attraction programs after the Lone Star State in an effort to replicate its successes.

The results speak for themselves: For 11 years, CEOs have ranked Texas as the top state for business. Texas is home to 6 of the top 50 companies listed by Fortune 500. If Texas were a sovereign nation, the economy would rank 12th in the world with a gross state product exceeding $1.6 trillion per year.

While cattle, agriculture, and oil built the foundation for the Texas economy and continue to remain important industries throughout the state, Texas is no longer solely reliant on these industries for future growth. In the past 20 years, the economy has seen rapid growth within the technology, communications, aeronautics, and healthcare sectors.   

In a similar fashion, Amarillo has also recognized tremendous growth since establishing the Amarillo EDC. 

Where oil and gas and agriculture might have dominated the area historically, aerospace, renewable energy, food production, transportation, and manufacturing are some of the region’s hottest industries. Opportunities within these sectors continue to expand and evolve as the economic climate grows stronger. If you are seeking to take your business into the 21st century, the opportunities are as wide open as the Texas prairie.    

Why Do EDCs Matter?

A healthy, robust economy is essential for a community. When skilled employees are coupled with steady employment, the results are stupendous. It is a recipe for self-sustaining economic growth that over time attracts an increasing stream of new business to the region. When a community entirely depends upon one industry, it becomes vulnerable. Consider at the Permian Basin, for example, and the struggles it faces during an oil crisis. Look at Detroit and the auto industry decline in recent years. Therefore, it’s imperative a community doesn’t put all of its economic eggs in one basket, so to speak.

Amarillo is an excellent example of a diverse economyA 2014 report released by The Perryman Group estimates the overall impact (including the multiplier effects) of companies the Amarillo EDC has assisted equates $5.5 billion in gross product each year and 54,141 permanent jobs in Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle region as a whole. The report also states the Amarillo EDC's impact represents approximately 44.4% of the entire economy and 62.8% of the incremental growth since the inception of the sales tax.

Whether you are looking to start a business or expand a business, you want to do it within a community that has a thriving pool of talent and resources. When these conditions exist, the possibilities are endless, and Amarillo can help pave your route to success.

Want more information? Contact the AEDC and we'll be happy to answer your questions about what makes Texas and Amarillo the place for business expansion for your company.