The Austin metro area economy is home to Texas state offices, the University of Texas main campus and to an increasing number of high-tech industries. Austin continues to attract off-state investors into the area because of the favorable business climate. Recently there has been an influx of pharmaceutical, food, and biotechnological industries to the area. Apple Inc., which currently employs more than 2,500 individuals in the region, may add more than 800 additional jobs in the region if its plan to produce the Mac Pro desktop computer goes well next year. The University of Texas at Austin has approved the construction of a multi-million dollar new Dell Medical School. The construction will provide venue for research, education, medical, and administrative facilities and is expected to be fully functioning by 2016.
Austin is among the top MSAs for job growth in the U.S. Recent data shows some moderation with October payroll employment growth of 2.8 percent (year over year), still well above the national average of 1.7 percent. The area’s unemployment rate declined to 5.3 in October, well below the U.S. rate of 7.3 percent for the month. Expanding employment opportunities are attracting significant in-migration to the area, fueling population growth well above the U.S. average. This, in turn, is leading to the rapid expansion of infrastructure, including improvement and expansion of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Strong labor markets are also promoting strong real estate markets in Austin. Residential construction surged in 2012 and early 2013, with housing starts increasing much faster than the U.S. average rate. The year-over-year growth of house prices of 9.0 percent in October was slightly above the national average of 8.4 percent and the trend is expected to continue through 2014.
Click here for the complete Austin MSA Regional Economic Update: Austin 2013Q3.