Sometimes a broken record is worth playing anyway.
The Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area added 101,700 jobs (9.1%) in February on a year-over-year basis, according to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Austin ranked third among all large metros nationally and significantly outpaced the other large metros in Texas. Given the steady drumbeat of headlines about company relocations and expansions there, I doubt this latest report will get much attention. Despite its penchant for navel-gazing, Austin should be quite accustomed to this by now.
But it is worth pausing to reflect on Austin’s economic performance relative to the pre-pandemic period. Total nonfarm employment in Austin increased by 136,500 jobs comparing February 2019 to February 2022. That’s a 12.7% growth rate. The next five fastest growing large metros were:
- Riverside 7.9%
- Raleigh 7.0%
- Dallas 7.0%
- Jacksonville 6.6%
- Nashville 6.3%
Austin added more than twice the number of jobs as Nashville. Total employment in Phoenix is nearly twice the size of Austin, yet Austin added 20,000 more jobs than Phoenix. Same goes for Atlanta, and Atlanta has nearly three million jobs. Miami, the much heralded destination for footloose jobs resulting from pandemic changes, has managed only one percent growth in total employment since February 2019.
Austin seems to be writing yet another chapter in its remarkable growth story.