Leadership Austin hosted their monthly Engage Breakfast on January 15, 2012 at the Long Center. The topic was "Topping the Charts: Austin's Job Creation", and it was an upbeat panel discussion about where the Texas Capital has been, where we are, and what is around the corner.
- Ray Almgren - Vice President of Product Marketing for Core Platforms, National Instruments
- Tamara Atkinson - Deputy Executive Director, Workforce Solutions - Capital Area Workforce Board
- Gary Farmer - Vice Chairman of Economic Development, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce; President, Heritage Title Company of Austin
- Hall T. Martin - Founder and Director, Texas Entrepreneur Network
- Brian Sanders - Anchor, KXAN
Of course it is easy to have a positive conversation when your city is leading the country in jobs. The November 2012 unemployment rate was 4.9 % in Austin, which beats the state (5.8%) and national (7.4%) numbers by quite a margin. And we are leading in new jobs created over the top 50 metropolitan areas in the United States.
Austin is a city with both a robust start-up community, with half of all investments in Texas start-ups going to companies in Central Texas. And it is not just technology ventures, as we have diverse sectors including gaming, food trailers, packaged foods, etc....
We also continue to attract larger corporations to move their headquarters or open satalite offices in Austin. 256 companies have relocated part of their operations to Austin in the last nine years.
But it has not always been a bed of roses. Austin has seen the ups and downs economic trends over the past few decades. We were hit hard in the early part of the 2000's due to the tech bubble and our over focus on the semiconductor industry in the 1990s. Today we have a much more diversified economy, which is what positioned Austin to lead the way through the most recent recession.
The Chamber of Commerce and other organizations have worked closely with the city to help the region become a highly desired area for both companies and professionals to locate. New college graduates flock to Austin because of the creative, innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.
However, our boom-town does have challenges. Too many high school students are dropping out or not pursuing advanced education. This means they are forfeiting the opportunities that are abundant in the area for skilled workers. We need to do more to expose young people to opportunities. We have too many available technology related jobs (over 2000 unfilled), while every service job posted receives 55 applications.
Austin continues to top all the lists (and has for the 21 years that I have lived in the community). Yes, part of the reason we do so well is our wonderful landscape, weather, recreation ,etc..... But the economic leadership that makes us the envy of cities across the world is not an accident. We cannot take it for granted, as everyone is looking to compete for the talent and the jobs. Fortunately, Austin has amazing companies, elected officials, organizations and volunteers who work tirelessly to keep up on top!/
Leadership Austin continues to bring great programs. I attend the Engage Breakfast each month (when I am not out of town) because the audience is always left with new information and their minds are filled with ideas.
Have A Great Day.