Downtown Employment

Austin declared No. 1 in the U.S. for downtown job growth

Austin declared No. 1 in the U.S. for downtown job growth

Downtown Austin skyline in the evening across from Lady Bird Lake
Austin has the fastest core job growth rate in the country. Photo by Kumar Appaiah with Flickr

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.