The Workforce: Where will the New Jobs Come From? By Barbara Kiviat, published in TIME Magazine.
"The good news is the perception as well as the reality is improving in some areas of the country. Just 12 out of 384 metropolitan areas ended 2009 with more jobs than they had at the beginning of the year, but more recently, the numbers have been looking better. Over the past six months (through January), 72 cities gained jobs, according to a Moody's Economy.com analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That may seem like a slow start, but it's a meaningful one to people being hired in places like Flagstaff, Ariz., Augusta, Ga., and Lansing, Mich.
Austin lands on that list too. The central Texas city of 760,000 has a few built-in advantages over other cities. The University of Texas and the state government - Austin is the capital - provide some economic stability. And as the Southwest's technology center, Austin is home to many high-growth (though high-risk) companies. It is also a music mecca and the gateway to Texas hill country, attributes that help it attract desirable workers. For all these reasons, it hasn't been battered quite as hard as other cities by the recession; the unemployment rate was nearly 3 points below the national average at the end of last year. Still, the metro area has seen big job losses from major employers, including the computer maker Dell and semiconductor manufacturers like Freescale and Advanced Micro Devices. It's not hard to find the desperate stories here that you find throughout the rest of the country: the woman laid off from book publishing two years ago who hasn't been able to find a permanent job since; the interior decorator who used to have a six-figure salary and now sells furniture for $30,000 a year.
Yet Austin also offers a model of hope. The city's surfeit of computer-programming talent allowed a video-game outfit to hire 50 developers and designers in the past two months. A manufacturer is building a new plant north of town to take advantage of the growing commercial-lighting industry even as its construction-related business falls off. A pharmaceuticals start-up is looking for new lab workers. Some companies are expanding, and others - markers of the city's entrepreneurial spirit - are starting from scratch. Austin is emerging as one of the first pockets of the country where people are getting back to work, showing that even in this dreary economic environment, job creation can happen - and illustrating how it will eventually take root around the nation.
If you've been thinking about listing your home, this would be a great time to contact me for a list of homes that have sold in your neighborhood. Since not all areas in Austin are experiencing the same conditions, give me a call at 512-680-5835 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss the value of your home and how you can take advantage of the buying and selling opportunities created by the market.