Economy

Photo courtesy commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:LoneStarMike

It’s gotten so that you can hardly count to ten without hearing about Austin’s latest accolade. Between high profile cultural events, the economic insulation of vast state and university employment, and a relatively affordable quality of life (at least compared to coastal enclaves like Los Angeles and New York), it’s not surprising everything’s coming up Austin.

But who can keep this procession of plaudits straight?

To get a gauge of just how many Austin-happy rankings are floating around at any one time, we looked for “best cities” rankings including Austin over the last two months. And from that, we compiled this meta-masterlist, a Top 10 of the city’s most recent Top 10 rankings ranging from the apparent, to the arbitrary, to the really, really arbitrary. 

So without further ado, Austin’s Top 10 Top 10 Listings:

  1. Green Tech Go: While it doesn’t rank Austin along other cities, this love letter from Time Magazine declares Austin has become “America’s Clean-Tech Hub.” It links growth in Austin’s nascent green and clean technology to its past performance in the semiconductor industry, and gives a shout out to the Pecan Street Project energy distribution experiment.

In which we serve a heaping helping of links for your reading pleasure:

Huma Munir, KUT News

A wealth of employment and salary data for the Austin region has just been released, and it confirms Austin has become a high-tech capital.

Photo by Teresa Vieira for KUT News

The recession has stripped African-Americans of thirty years of economic gains, according to the president the National Urban League. Marc Morial was in Austin today to speak to a leadership summit hosted by the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.

"It has been difficult for white, Latino, Asian, all people.  But African-Americans have taken the toughest brunt of this,” Morial said.

Photo by KUT

We pretty much know we're awesome, but it's nice to hear it again and again. Austin made third place on CNN Money's list of "Ten Top Turnaround Towns". We even beat out Dallas, which ranked eighth. 

CNN Money said Austin has solid job growth, a relatively laissez-faire economy, and plenty of space to expand.

Photo courtesy flickr.com/emdot/

The financial services company Standard & Poor's (S&P) is showing some love for the Texas economy today by granting the state's government bonds an AA+ rating.

In a press release, S&P analyst Horacio Aldrete-Sanchez said it was because the Texas economy is large, diversifying, and growing faster than the country's as a whole.

KUT News

Travis County wants to become an economic stimulator. At their regular meeting, county commissioners discussed a proposal to amend the county tax code in order to offer an incentive for businesses that want to relocate to Travis County. The City of Austin and the State of Texas have similar programs, but commissioners are proposing something different.

Can't afford the $165 registration to attend the annual forecast from Angelou Economics? Catch some of the details here.

Image courtesy atmtx http://www.flickr.com/photos/atmtx/

The company that manages most of the retail space in the Second Street District downtown says it expects to reach a high water mark this year. AMLI Residential says 80 percent of the square footage is currently rented, and that should grow to 92 percent "by the end of the second quarter," according to AMLI retail manager Carrie Holt.

Image by Tommy Klumker http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomask/

We received more hard data today showing how more people are moving to Austin and looking for work.  The latest unemployment survey from the Texas Workforce Commission shows the workforce in the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos area increased from 892,700 in December 2009 to 909,300 last month, a difference of 16,600.

Image by Erik Reyna for KUT News

The latest fuel price report from AAA says Austin gas prices have risen to an average of $2.91 for a gallon of regular unleaded. That's up about 10 cents from last month and almost 30 cents higher than it was this week last year. And most signs point to gas prices climbing even higher.

Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott sent a letter to staff this week, welcoming them back to work from the holidays and warning them they might be fired. With state lawmakers ready to begin a legislative session next week that will require closing a budget gap as big as $25 billion or more, is this an impending sign of the pain that will be wrought on Austin's economy?

10th street and Brazos
Image by Nasha Lee for KUT News

The Live Music Capitol of the World has topped another list of awesome cities. This time, it's the Under30CEO.com list of Top 10 Cities for Young Entrepreneurs in 2010.

Coming in third place right behind New York City and San Francisco, Austin is praised for all the familiar reasons:

Stevie Ray Vaughn in the storm
Image courtesy Stuck in Customs http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/

The Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos area added 17,700 jobs over the last 12 months, according to statistics released this morning by the Texas Workforce Commission. But because the size of the labor force also grew, the unemployment rate actually edged upwards to 7.1 percent in November 2010 compared to 7 percent in November 2009.

Economic scorecard
Image courtesy Austin Chamber of Commerce

Job growth in the private sector will more than make up for anticipated government job cuts next year, according to a series of economic forecasts presented today by the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Dollar bill
Image courtesy peasap http://www.flickr.com/photos/peasap/

The latest sales tax collection numbers show the state collected $10.56 million in Austin last month. That's an increase of about 0.11 percent from the $10.54 collected in the same month last year. But it's substantially less than the $11.56 million in sales tax collected in Austin in November 2008.

The numbers suggest the Austin economy is more active than it was 12 months ago, but still has yet to recover from the pain inflicted by the national recession.

Austin 10th and Brazos
Image by Nasha Lee for KUT News

Austin is the 26th most dynamic city in the post-recession world, according to a new report by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

The Global MetroMonitor report looks at cities' economic output and employment and ranks them based on how much they "punch above their weight."

Austin was the only American city in the top 30. Istanbul topped the list.

The state added 47,900 jobs in October
Photo Courtesy of Bill Jacobus

Texas total nonfarm employment was up by 47,900 jobs in October, according to a Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) press release. This number accounts for an impressive third of the 151,000 jobs the entire U.S. economy added in the same period.

“Every major industry added jobs in October with notable increases in Construction employment” said TWC Chairman Tom Pauken.

TWC also released that the unemployment rate stayed steady at 8.1 percent, a substantial percentage and a half less than the country’s, which is currently at 9.6.

Newsweek is the latest national publication to give Austin's economy high praise for being pretty awesome compared to everywhere else.

In its list of the 10 American cities best situated for the recovery, Newsweek repeats the familiar refrain of reasons why Austin's economy rules.

SXSW 2010 Geeks band
Photo courtesy JTImages http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmtimages/

South by Southwest's 2010 conference injected $113 million dollars into the city's economy, mainly from people who traveled to Austin to attend. That's according to a new economic report from GreyHill Advisors, whom SXSW commissioned to conduct the study.

You can read a five page executive summary of the report on GreyHill's website. Here are some highlights:

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