October 12, 2015 Brian Kelsey

Austin: This is the best economy you’re likely to see

Here’s my roundup of the latest statistics available on the Austin economy:

Austin, TX: State of the Economy

The comparisons to Raleigh, another extremely fast-growing, tech-driven economy, are stunning to me. I grew up in Raleigh and often hear people comparing Austin to the Research Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill). There are clear similarities–research universities, influx of young, well-educated people, tech hubs–but it’s the differences that underscore Austin’s singular economic performance lately.

More primary working age, educated people are moving to Austin than any other U.S. city, and that’s having a profound effect on wealth creation. Research Triangle is also among the leaders nationally, but there’s an important difference: When the demographic driving economic growth is making approximately $15,000 more on average in Austin than in Raleigh (see Slide 14), you can start to understand why affordability and inequality are dominating policy discussions in Austin.

Austin may still be a bargain compared to expensive coastal places like Seattle, the Bay Area, and New York, but we are a world away from many other fast-growing, mid-size markets like Raleigh-Durham and Nashville. And, trust me, the economic developers in those comparable mid-size markets are starting to take notice.

This is the best economy we’re likely to experience in Austin, assuming, of course, that you have the education, skills, and luck to be able to fully participate in it.

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