Austin has been on a growth trend that doesn’t show signs of stopping in the near future. Population growth fueled by job creation is main source for the region’s growth. With a combination of a strong tech sector, prestigious higher learning institutions and a forward-thinking culture, Austin continues to be an ideal place for businesses to put down roots or expand its operations. Recent data from a presentation by the Austin Chamber of Commerce gives us an optimistic economic outlook for the area in 2019.
Local Population Growth
In terms of population growth, Chamber representatives say that Austin is getting 82 new residents per day. That’s about twice the statewide average and far above the national population growth rate, they said. As population growth is typically fueled by job creation and affordability, the Austin area appears to be on track to continue to see strong population growth numbers.
Austin Gross Domestic Product
As far as gross domestic product, Austin’s five-year gross domestic product growth of 6.5 percent beat the state’s 6 percent. The GDP growth that Austin has recorded in that time is quite impressive considering the state’s GDP is nearly double the national average. Annual job growth of around 4 percent puts the Austin metropolitan area ahead of larger cities Dallas and Houston.
Austin Job Growth
The source of much of the Austin job growth comes from the information sector. The sector tends to be where many tech jobs wind up being categorized in macroeconomic studies. An ever-expanding Austin tech sector has also fueled Austin area home sales and home price growth, which appear to be moderating.
Austin Area Real Estate
Real estate moderation is not a sign of a stagnating market, however, as the local housing sector continues to record strong sales and value growth this year. The most recent housing report from the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) shows that November sales numbers indicate 2018 will likely be another record year for the local real estate market. So despite a moderating housing sector, the Austin area economy is expected to maintain stable growth next year.
In fact, Sarah House, an economist with Wells Fargo Securities, said there is no reason to expect Austin’s overall economy to contract in 2019. Her prediction comes in spite of concerns about national and global debt levels, possible trade wars and other factors that make a recession or broad economic slowdown more likely.
Future Economic Policy will Change Focus
In a report about the economic presentation, Austin Chamber of Commerce President, Mike Rollins told the Austin Monitor that an important component of the local economy will be the adoption and rollout of the city’s revised economic incentives policy. The updated policy is aimed at fueling the growth of small businesses and middle-income jobs rather than attracting large corporations with hundreds of six-figure employees.
An Innovative and Forward-Thinking Culture
At a post-forecast panel on economic disruption and Austin’s attractiveness to global firms and organizations, the discussion often came back to Austin being a talent magnet and the presence of prestigious higher education institutions as two important strengths.
Col. Patrick Seiber spoke about what finally made Army Futures Command decide to set up their headquarters in Austin earlier this year. Seiber said it was because Austin stood out as a natural choice for the center and its hundreds of future-forward jobs.
“We’re here in Austin so we can partner with folks who are the best to ensure that our soldiers can protect America’s tomorrows,” he said. “We’ve been trying our best to become a part of the Austin culture. There’s 150 cities we could have put Army Futures Command in, and when you look at the spirit of innovation here and you couple that with the can-do optimism that Texans are known for, it’s a dangerous combination.”
Read more about the Austin economy.