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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

economy

This analysis predates the COVID-19 crisis and the economic impacts that followed. It is offered as an overview of the High Plains regional economy and a resource for comparative purposes.

Regional Snapshot

High Plains Region


The 41-county High Plains region covers about 39,500 square miles in north Texas, stretching from the Oklahoma state line on the east and north and the New Mexico state line on the west to the Lubbock metro area on the south.

The region includes two metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs): the Amarillo MSA, comprising the counties of Armstrong, Carson, Oldham, Potter and Randall, and the Lubbock MSA, comprising the Crosby, Lubbock and Lynn counties.

High Plains Texas Region Counties:

  • Armstrong
  • Bailey
  • Briscoe
  • Carson
  • Castro
  • Childress
  • Cochran
  • Collingsworth
  • Crosby
  • Dallam
  • Deaf Smith
  • Dickens
  • Donley
  • Floyd
  • Garza
  • Gray
  • Hale
  • Hall
  • Hansford
  • Hartley
  • Hemphill
  • Hockley
  • Hutchinson
  • King
  • Lamb
  • Lipscomb
  • Lubbock
  • Lynn
  • Moore
  • Motley
  • Ochiltree
  • Oldham
  • Parmer
  • Potter
  • Randall
  • Roberts
  • Sherman
  • Swisher
  • Terry
  • Wheeler
  • Yoakum

Top 10 Industries by Location Quotient

  1. Animal Production and Aquaculture
  2. Oil and Gas Extraction
  3. Support Activities for Mining
  4. Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing
  5. Food Manufacturing
  6. Crop Production
  7. Pipeline Transportation
  8. Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
  9. Support Activities for Agriculture and Forestry
  10. Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction

Source: JobsEQ®

Population Growth

High Plains REGION VS. TEXAS AND U.S., 2010-2019

Region
3.9%

U.S.
6.3%

Texas
15.3%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

In 2019, the High Plains region’s estimated total population was 872,000 or about 3 percent of the state’s total population. That marked an increase of 3.9 percent (about 33,000 people) since the 2010 Census.

Education

Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, High Plains Region

Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, High Plains Region
Educational Attainment Number Employed, Region Average Annual Earnings, Region
Less than high school 62,657 $39,622
High school or equivalent, no college 91,273 $45,422
Some college or associate degree 101,540 $48,961
Bachelor's degree or advanced degree 59,921 $65,629

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and JobsEQ

High Plains region workers with some college or associate degrees and with stable jobs earn an average of $3,539 more annually than those with a high school degree, while those with at least a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $20,207 more.

JOBS & WAGES

From 2009 to 2019, the High Plains region’s employment increased by more than 7 percent, much lower than the state’s total job growth rate. In 2019, the region accounted for almost 3 percent of the state’s total employment.

The High Plains region’s most significant occupations are shown below, sorted by numerical growth during the last five years.

Employment Growth, High Plains Region vs. Texas and U.S., 2009-2019


Note: Figures include private and public sector employees with the exception of active-duty military personnel, railroad employees, religious institution employees and the self-employed.

Sources: JobsEQ and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top Occupations in the High Plains Region by Numeric Growth, 2014-2019

Top Occupations in the High Plains Region by Numeric Growth, 2014 to 2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages
Food and Beverage Serving Workers 22,581 $21,000
Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners 14,502 $97,000
Agricultural Workers 10,668 $25,800
Cooks and Food Preparation Workers 9,035 $23,000
Health Technologists and Technicians 9,079 $43,200

Note: Data are as of Q4 2019 except wage data, which are for covered employment in 2018.
Source: JobsEQ

Regional Economy

In 2019, taxable sales directly attributable to businesses in the region exceeded $11 billion, contributing about 2 percent to the state’s overall taxable sales.

Regional Receipts Subject to Sales Tax

High Plains Region, Taxable Sales, 2007-2019
Year Revenue High Plains Region
2007 8.24 billion dollars
2008 9.11 billion dollars
2009 8.10 billion dollars
2010 8.38 billion dollars
2011 9.08 billion dollars
2012 10.01 billion dollars
2013 10.46 billion dollars
2014 11.00 billion dollars
2015 10.34 billion dollars
2016 10.07 billion dollars
2017 10.22 billion dollars
2018 10.80 billion dollars
2019 11.07 billion dollars

Note: Numbers shown are for reported revenue subject to sales tax and directly attributed to the region.
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Summary

The High Plains region is mostly rural with two large urban areas, offering an unusually diverse economy. Its 41 counties have many unique economic conditions and challenges. Potter and Lubbock counties, with the cities of Amarillo and Lubbock, are the region’s economic centers.

The region’s economy reached a high point in 2014, but sales receipts subject to state sales tax in 2019 indicate the regional economy was continuing its upward trend. These economic factors, combined with agriculture’s large footprint in the region, differentiate the High Plains regional economy.

The High Plains Region is one of the Comptroller’s 12 economic regions.

View a complete list of these regions, plus more in-depth county-by-county data.

Glenn Hegar

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts


Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material on this page, please contact the Comptroller’s Data Analysis and Transparency Division.