Coronavirus Comeback?

Austin trails other U.S. cities for pandemic economic recovery, new study shows

Austin trails other cities for pandemic economic recovery, says study

Austin aerial skyline with bridges and Lady Bird Lake
El Paso, Fort Worth, and Dallas appear in the top 20; Austin lands at No. 23. Ryan Conine/Getty Images

Despite Austin experiencing a comeback in terms of jobs lost during the pandemic, the Capital City doesn't even warrant a top 20 spot on the list of cities with the strongest economic recovery.

A new list, published July 29 by financial advice website SmartAsset, ranks the U.S. cities with the strongest economic recoveries from the pandemic. Austin lands at No. 23.

SmartAsset looked at five data points for 49 of the largest U.S. cities to determine the economic winners:

  • Percentage change in consumer spending
  • Percentage change in small businesses that are open
  • Percentage change in small business revenue
  • Percentage change in job postings
  • March 2021 unemployment rate

Here's how Austin fared based on those data points:

1. Change in consumer spending (January 2020-April 2021):

  • Austin: 27.5 percent
  • Study-wide average: 7.3 percent

2. Change in small businesses open (January 2020-April 2021):

  • Austin: -38 percent
  • Study-wide average: -32.51 percent

3. Change in small business revenue (January 2020-April 2021):

  • Austin: -40.4 percent
  • Study-wide average: -30.9 percent

4. March 2021 unemployment rate:

  • Austin: 4.7 percent
  • Study-wide average: 6.6 percent

The recovery news around Texas is somewhat encouraging, with the list noting Fort Worth (No. 11) is bouncing back economically from the COVID-19 pandemic more robustly than most other big cities around the United States and in Texas, with Dallas (No. 19) not far behind. San Antonio came in at No. 38 and Houston at No. 44. 

The only one other Texas city to appear in the list's top 20 is El Paso (No. 8). Salt Lake City, Utah tops the list.

"With more than 40 percent of the U.S. population fully vaccinated (according to New York Times data as of June 15), the economies of many cities have started rebounding at a faster pace," SmartAsset says. "However, the rebound has not occurred at the same rate nationwide. Factors like vaccination rates, public spending, poverty rates, tax revenue, and politics have contributed to varying rates of recovery."