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Amarillo, Texas and a Growing Economy

Updated on April 20, 2019
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is a successful employment & training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

The Texas Panhandle is in the northernmost part of the state.
The Texas Panhandle is in the northernmost part of the state. | Source

The Panhandle Workforce Development Area of Texas and its geographical location make an almost perfect square at the top of the state in the northwest sector of the map below. Another map below shows a close-up view of Amarillo that you can zoom to enlarge.

Amarillo is the largest city in the Texas Panhandle, which is designated an official Workforce Development Area. The Greater Amarillo Metro Area covers approximately four counties and the City of Amarillo lies in Potter County and part of Randall County as well.

For additional city reviews and job listings/forecasts for Texas, see the link:

A Texas Ocelot, an endangered species rarely seen.
A Texas Ocelot, an endangered species rarely seen. | Source

Texas Panhandle Attractions

Tourism is growing in the panhandle, because of the growing popularity of natural attraction. For instance, Black Kettle National Grassland on the border crossing into Oklahoma is named for Chief Black Kettle of the Southern and Northern Cheyenne people.

The Cheyenne had moved west and north from their traditional hunting grounds and their chief negotiated peace between several Plains Indians nations and the US Federal Government in the first half of the 19th century.

By the 1850s, the chief had led his nation to the Sand Creek Reservation in Southeastern Colorado at the US President's request, which went against the earlier Treaties of Fort Laramie and Fort Lyon.

The Pike's Peak Gold Rush of whites hungering for wealth seemed to negate legal treaties with Native Americans.

Black Kettle and his wife were murdered in his Colorado village by US Army soldiers during a conflict during 1868 after the American Civil War, in the Battle of Washita River.

Washita River:
Washita River, Oklahoma 74731, USA

get directions

Black Kettle National Park:
Black Kettle National Grassland, 18555 U.S. 87A, Cheyenne, OK 73628, United States

get directions

Amarillo, TX, USA

get directions

Amarillo = Yellow
Amarillo = Yellow | Source

Industrial Progress in Amarillo

The city has been nicknamed The Yellow Rose of Texas, because amarillo means yellow in Spanish. In addition to this colorful name, Amarillo is also the Beef City, because it supports an active beef processing industry at Tyson's Meats, one of the largest employers in the metro area.

Beef cattle raising and processing was big business before the advent of the modern company, however, dating back to the trail drives of the 1800s and the boom created by the coming of the railroads in the late 1880s for faster and larger transport of beef products.

Amarillo is also known as the home of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, since the city has been a leader in cattle feed production. It is also the headquarters for the renown American Quarter Horse Association. Horses and cattle as animal raising industries are both successful in Amarillo.

Aside from the designations above, Amarillo is also a nuclear weapons city. One of its largest employers, Pantex, is the only nuclear weapons assembly/dis-assembly plant in America. See a photo gallery of rail cars used to transport these weapons, now on exhibit at the Amarillo Railroad Museum: Nuclear Trains.

Rock Island Line of the Panhandle.

Amarillo is also recognized as one of the most famous stops on Route 66 in the 20th Century.

After the Civil War, several cattle ranches became prosperous in the Panhandle and the town formed in 1887 near the approaching railroad tracks that were soon scheduled to cross the Panhandle. In just about a decade, the Amarillo economy had grown with the easier transport of cattle and beef as well as manufactured grain products by rail.

Oil and gas were discovered in and near Amarillo around 1920 and this was a boost to economy in energy production. World War II resulted in the opening of the local Pantex weaponry plant after the Dust Bowl of The Great Depression devastated local economy. New manufacturing plants came to Amarillo in the 1970s - 1980s, and the city continued to grow via incoming propulsion and new businesses.

Downtown reconstruction began with restorations and additions of new commercial buildings around 1971 and continued on into the 2000s. Many local homes and commercial builds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Amarillo does a lot of business with Northeastern New Mexico and Oklahoma’s Panhandle region, becoming a business hub in the tri-state area.

Pantex Nuclear Weaponry Plant

The Pantex plant served as the last assembly point for 70,000 nuclear weapons produced in America during the Cold War.

Plutonium warheads went together with their triggering devices, all these nuclear weapons built in underground bunkers about 17 miles outside the city limits.

It is said in modern legends that many of the residents of Amarillo believe that the world will come to an end in flames caused by a nuclear blast.

At the same time, the city has the reputation of being proud of its association with nuclear energy and weaponry production, holding huge patriotic parades for Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day.

Panhandle New Jobs Increace

Top 10 Hot Job Listings

Employment listings seem to have skyrocketed in the Amarillo area since July 2008, A downturn occurred around May 2009, followed by another increase in job listings, according to Texas labor statistics.

A new upsurge in jobs occurred from 2011 - 2012, 2013 - 2014, 2016 - 2018, and 2019 onward.

Looking closely at the numbers and types of positions listed on several thousand job search sites and company home pages, and has found the following leading local industries to be:

  1. Healthcare,
  2. Retail Sales & Marketing,
  3. Trucking and Transportation, and the
  4. Restaurant Industry --
  1. Healthcare - RNs, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Respiratory Therapists, and Physicians; all hired and placed through Job Cure at
  2. Managers
  3. Merchandising Reps
  4. Assistant Store Managers
  5. Restaurant Managers
  6. Cashiers and Cooks (tie)
  7. Team Members - Retail Sales and Food Service
  8. Service Representatives
  9. Independent Sales Representatives
  10. Salespersons/Sales Associates

Companies Listing Largest Numbers of Jobs

  1. Xcel Energy
  2. At&T
  3. Rehab Care
  4. Hastings Entertainment, Inc.
  5. Baptist St Anthony's Health System
  6. Northwest Texas Healthcare System
  7. Atlas; CDL Truckstop; LF Recruiting; S & A Logistics -- Trucking Industry
  8. Pizza Hut and Taco Bell
  9. United / Market Street / Amigos
  10. Coca-Cola refreshments - Managers
  11. Happy State Bank
  12. CVS/pharmacy - Managers and Crew
  13. Edward Jones - Financial Products
  14. CR England
  15. Texas Tech University - Healthcare and Academic Jobs
  16. Warren CAT

Many of the companies in the list above are healthcare, management recruiters, and trucking companies.

Largest Employers in Amarillo

  1. Amarillo Independent School District (4000+ employees)
  2. Tyson Meats: Cattle meat processing into vacuum-packaged boxed beef. Recovery of bone, fat trim, and hides for the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and clothing industries.
  3. BWXT Pantex: A large group of these employees are employed by the US Federal Government in defense and weaponry.
  4. Baptist St. Anthony's Health Care Systems - See the official hospital ratings/evaluation page for this award-winning facility and programs at Healthgrades.
  5. Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club
  6. City of Amarillo
  7. Northwest Texas Healthcare System
  8. Texas Department of Criminal Justice
  9. Affiliated Foods
  10. VA MedicalCenter, Amarillo
  11. Xcel Energy of Amarillo
  12. Texas Tech University Health Science Center
  13. United Supermarkets
  14. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad - The HQ building in Downtown Amarillo has been restored to preserve it as a historic landmark and to upgrade the the area as part of ongoing urban revitalization.

Highest Numbers of New Openings

  1. Healthcare workers such as Doctors, Nurses, and other diagnostic and treatment positions
  2. Retail Salespersons
  3. Clerical Positions - office support, administration, etc..
  4. Manufacturing and Production Jobs
  5. Food Prep & Service Jobs
  6. Construction Occupations
  7. Mainstream and Special Education Teachers K-12
  8. Management Positions
  9. Farm Workers and Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse Workers
  10. Food Processing Jobs

Tourism Businesses and Attractions

  • Adventure Tour: Cowboys and Cowgirls in the West. 19100 South FM 1258
    Amarillo TX 79118.
  • Amarillo Museum of Art: The Museum, the Concert Hall/Theater and Music building opened to the public in October 1972 as a result of the joint venture of Amarillo College and community leaders.
  • Amarillo Rail Museum: Among exhibits in this tribute to Panhandle railroads, visitors will find the old Pantex "White Train" that was painted red and such to stand out less while transporting nuclear weapons. Located at 3160 I Avenue.
  • American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum: AQHA opened the Hall of Fame & Museum on its campus along Interstate 40 east of downtown Amarillo in 2008. Located at 2601 I-40 E. in Amarillo.
  • Big Texan: Home of the FREE 72 oz. Steak: Big Texan Steak Ranch & Horse Hotel (Really - horse stalls are available).
  • Bill's Backyard Classic Cars. 5309 S. Washington Street, Amarillo.
  • Charles Goodnight Historical Theater. 4989 County Road 25
    Goodnight TX 79226.
  • Welcome to Echo Hill Ranch: Summer camp run by Roger, Kinky, and Marcie Friedman.
  • Historic Route 66: Route 66 crosses 178 miles of Texas from Oklahoma to New Mexico. Three hours on Interstate 40 – a leisurely drive of any length you desire on Route 66. Amarillo is the largest city on this length of Route 66. Don't miss the Highway 66 Motor Speedway.
  • The Kwahadi Nation Native American Museum, 9151 I-40 East in Amarillo. This is located inside a reproduced Pueblo Indian Nation underground kiva chamber. You will see dancers perform in the evenings, and see exhibits and Venture Crew 9 inside.
  • Texas Pharmacy Museum. 1300 South Coulter, Amarillo TX 79106.
  • Wonderland Amusement Park and Zoo. US 287 at NE 24th Ave in Thompson Park, Amarillo.

Kinky Friedman

While Kinky Friedman planned his run for Governor of Texas, he honed his provocative writing skills on topics such as politics and life, along with the Kinky Friedman Murder Mystery series. The latter stars himself, his family, Texas law enforcement men and women, and some of his buddies in NYC as well as some that are purely fiction.

Amarillo Armadillo is my favorite of the bunch, because it tells the story of his life along with a very interesting serial murder problem that involves the Texas yellow rose. It is one of the few books that I could read a dozen times without tiring of it.

A cousin of  Kinky Friedman's "Dilly."
A cousin of Kinky Friedman's "Dilly." | Source

Higher Education for Local Jobs

  1. Visit Amarillo College
  2. Texas Tech Health Sciences Center: Also a major employer.
  3. West Texas A & M University
  4. Academy of Professional Careers
  5. Amarillo College of Hairdressing
  6. Exposito School of Hair Design at

Amarillo Sports

  • Amarillo Dillas: Pro baseball in the United League Baseball association.
  • Amarillo Dusters: Arena Football, AF2.
  • Amarillo Gorillas: Minor league hockey.
  • Rock Island Rail Trail: Biking, Hiking and green space.
  • Route 66 Motor Speedway
  • Amarillo Dragway
  • Comanche Trail Golf Links
  • Ross Rogers Golf Complex

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS


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