Downtown Austin leads the country in urban employment growth rates, according to a new study from City Observatory.
In contrast to the suburban movement experienced for a large part of 20th century, the report says the U.S. has seen an increase in the employment rate in city centers and a decrease in the surrounding areas from 2007-2011.
Austin serves as the prime example of that urban trend. Austin recorded the fastest core employment growth rate (3.4 percent) in the U.S. during 2007-2011, compared to a 0.6 percent growth rate between 2002-2007. In fact, 28.8 percent of Austin's workforce was employed in the city center in 2011, the highest percentage of all metropolitan areas used in the study. Peripheral areas saw a job growth rate of 2.3 percent in 2007-2011, down from 3.1 percent in the previous period.
"The strength of city centers appears to be driven by a combination of the growing attractiveness of urban living, and the relatively stronger performance of urban-centered industries (business and professional services, software) relative to decentralized industries (construction, manufacturing) in this economic cycle," says the report. The study cites downtown Austin-based semiconductor Cirrus Logic as an example.
Other Texas cities have not seen the same downtown job surge as Austin. Houston experienced -0.1 percent core job growth in 2002-2007 and 2007-2011; Dallas' core job growth decreased slightly from 0.8 percent in 2002-2007 to 0.5 percent in 2007-2011.