Mix Of Startups, Incoming Firms Keeps Austin Job Growth Buzzing

By Dan Zehr
Austin American-Statesman

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Thanks to a comparatively low cost of living and a fairly deep talent pool, Austin already enjoys a thriving tech community. The city is home to outpost facilities for many of Silicon Valley’s household names. Apple’s second-largest campus is in Austin and the sleek, new Oracle offices have sprung up along the south shore of Lake Lady Bird.

Austin American-Statesman

Austin occupies a rare and fortunate niche in the country’s high-tech labor market.

On one hand, local universities and entrepreneurs have spawned enough research and startup activity to sustain local growth. On the other, the region remains inexpensive enough — and retains a deep enough talent pool — to draw in new jobs and workers, especially from the coasts.

The result, according to a partial update of a Brookings Institution study, is a growing concentration of certain core tech jobs in Austin and Silicon Valley.

Despite tight labor markets here and in the San Francisco Bay Area, both places saw their share of national employment in four digital-services occupations continue to increase in recent years, despite the growth of those jobs in other areas not as readily considered tech centers.

In Austin, the share of the country’s employment in software publishing, data processing and hosting, computer systems design and other information services rose to 1.56 percent in 2017 from 1.5 percent in 2015.

The spike in San Francisco and Oakland was even more profound, increasing almost 0.4 percentage points over the same span. The gain in the greater San Jose metro area was similar to Austin at 0.05 percentage points.

Those numbers belie the growing narrative about the “rise of the rest,” which suggests tech jobs are rapidly migrating into other regions. As Brookings’ fuller study last year showed, such cities saw an increase in high-tech jobs from 2014 to 2016, but their growth still lagged that of the usual suspects.

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