More Austin-Boosting

  • March 25, 2012
  • Scott

George Dearing writes for AustinStartup that Austin is well-positioned for future job growth. He makes a number of good points about Austin’s relative advantages and links to a few other articles with more information.  But my favorite part was this:

Lastly, we can’t forget perceived intangibles. On a sunny and 65 degree day back in February my neighbor described it to me so eloquently. “Who needs fancy industry clusters when you’ve got this?” as both arms reached to the sky.

Exactly.  Just don’t do that same exercise in August!

Looking backward, Austin has been tops in job growth since 2004, according to a recent Statesman article:

Revised employment figures released a few weeks ago confirmed the trend. Austin ranked No. 1 among the nation’s 50 largest metro areas in job growth over the past eight years. Its 140,200 new jobs represented a 21.3 percent increase from the start of 2004, which put it well ahead of second-place Houston, which had 15.7 percent job growth.

For 2011 alone, Austin was 
No. 2 in the nation in job growth. Houston, with its rapidly expanding energy sector, edged out Austin for the national lead with a 3.7 percent increase in jobs, compared with Austin’s 3.5 percent.

Of course, picking 2004 is cherry-picking.  2001 to 2004 were terrible years for the Austin job market (at least, in tech), in which about 1/4 to 1/3 of the high-tech jobs evaporated, representing a huge amount of personal income for the local Austin economy.  That contraction hurt all the industries that serve high-tech workers as well (real estate, restaurants, service businesses of all kinds).

Ever since 2004, however, Austin’s economy has been on the mend, subjectively – it is nice to see the objective data to back it up.

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