We all know Austin has experienced an explosive amount of growth in recognition over the past several years. In this article, we explore different factors influencing future growth and have compiled useful information on areas where Austin outperforms other major cities.
We expand on three reasons why Austin continues to be an attractive place for companies and professionals, including:
- Austin’s thriving tech ecosystem
- Austin’s depth of higher education options
- Austin’s appeal to STEM professionals and millennials
Austin, Texas Rankings in 2022
1. Austin’s thriving tech ecosystem
In 2021, Bloomberg named Austin as the top beneficiary of tech migration of the past 12 months according to LinkedIn profiles. The LinkedIn user data shows that Austin gained 217 people for every 10,000 users, which was the highest net inflow of tech workers of any major U.S. city from May 2020 to April 2021. In 2020, Austin also topped LinkedIn’s list of net migration in the last 12 months.
Austin also ranks as the No.2 Best Performing City according to the Milken Institute. This index takes into account job creation, wage growth, and output growth alongside measures of broadband access and housing affordability. The well-known advantages for companies and workers relocating to Austin are, of course, a lower cost of living, no state income taxes, great year-round weather, and a lively social and cultural scene.
Similar to the Bay Area, tech giants are transforming Austin’s cityscape and skyline. A few recent and significant moves to Austin include:
- Tesla recently opened its next Gigafactory east of Austin
- Google leased Block 185 in Downtown Austin
- Apple is building a second campus in North Austin
- Oracle moved its headquarters after 44 years in the Bay Area
Additionally, Austin remains a hotbed for startups, innovation, and technology. The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business was highlighted by Business Insider for its pivotal role in boosting Texas’ technology sector. Austin was also able to lure growth to the city on the back of tax incentives to transformative companies that include Tesla, Apple, and Samsung. And, according to data provided by the Austin Chamber, major company relocations created over 12,000 jobs in the past year, setting a new record high for the city.
2. Austin’s depth of higher education options
WalletHub compared over 400 U.S. cities based on the economic, social, and academic opportunities for students, and in 2021 and 2022, Austin ranked as the Best College Town in a Large City.
Austin provides a reasonable cost of living, excellent educational options, and an active social environment. Home to more than 20 colleges, it is no surprise that Austin ranks highly on the list of best college cities. Major institutions in Austin include The University of Texas, St. Edward’s University, Huston-Tillotson University, and Austin Community College. The University of Texas and the other 26 public and private colleges have a combined enrollment of around 180,000 students.
For students wanting to make a long-term commitment to their respective college cities, Austin sits at the top of the chart for Best College Towns for Life After College. The educational institutions in Austin strengthen the local economy, which defines the city not only as a great choice for students but for those transitioning to their first job out of school.
Finally, the Austin MSA’s unemployment rate fell to pre-pandemic levels in December and sits marginally higher at 3.3% as of February of this year, below the national average of 3.6%. Although the omicron variant had an impact on some business activity, there is strong and increasing demand for workers in the region due to companies such as Tesla, Oracle, Samsung, and others relocating to and growing their presence in the city.
3. Austin’s depth of opportunities for STEM professionals and millennials
In RocketHomes 2020 report, Austin was named the best city for young professionals and millennials due to the city’s high percentage of young, well-educated residents, a healthy economy, and substantial green building activity. More recently, WalletHub named Austin as the No.2 Metro Area for STEM Professionals in 2022.
The city attracts an exceptionally bright and diverse workforce. Austin is not only home to major tech companies, but over 240 life sciences companies also call the city home. Among them are ICU Medical, Luminex Corp., and Abbott Laboratories. The 240 life science companies employ a workforce of nearly 15,000.
Austin’s Innovation District, which includes the University of Texas, Dell Medical School, and Dell Seton Medical Center, will help generate more life sciences research and development. The opening of Dell Medical School in 2016 is already improving the local community’s health and economy. Many companies in Austin are also offering STEM opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience and build the next generation of professionals.
From 2020 to 2030, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects nearly an 11% increase in STEM occupations nationwide, much higher than the projected 8% growth for non-stem occupations. RCLCO Real Estate Consulting produces an annual STEM Job Growth Index that highlights metro areas that are strongholds in STEM, and Austin landed in the No.3 spot in 2021. Our city’s consistently high ranking in the index showcases the growth of STEM opportunities across our MSA.
Being an Austin-based company, AQUILA has witnessed significant changes over the years. It has been an exciting ride, and one that we don’t imagine will be ending any time soon.
The combination of the factors we’ve discussed will undoubtedly lead to more job growth, increased office absorption, and a strong local economy for years to come. Austin is well-positioned to continue its run as one of the strongest cities in the country, both from an employment and a real estate perspective. We can’t wait to see what Austin still has in store.
To see a list of Austin accolades, see the updated Austin Tops the Charts below.