Austin Goes Boom
If you take Bloomberg's word for it, Texas is the ultimate land of opportunity. Four of the state's five metropolitan statistical areas landed on the finance news site's list of the Top 12 American Boomtowns, based on population increases and inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
Not surprisingly, in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, boomtown status can be attributed to the oil and gas industry, a large source of employment in the region. However, the opportunities here are more diverse than, say, Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown:
The oil and gas industry employs people in the Dallas area, though not to the extent as in cities like Houston. ... The result is an area that’s diverse in employment opportunities, from finance to technology companies. The unemployment rate, at 6.3 percent, is less than the national average. The relatively low cost of living in Dallas, combined with the economic opportunities, has been a draw for many people. ... In 2012 the area had a population of 6.7 million.
In DFW, population grew 6.21 percent from 2007 to 2011, with a .84 percent compound annual growth in GDP.
The Austin-Round Rock area has the thriving tech sector to thank — Dell, SXSW and a forthcoming Apple campus — for its recent growth. The population increased by 11.6 percent, with a 3.26 compound annual growth in GDP. Says Bloomberg,
Austinites proudly wear T-shirts that say “Keep Austin Weird” -- something of a challenge as the city and surrounding areas grow in leaps and bounds. The Austin area, home of the South by Southwest festival and Dell Inc., has an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent, compared with 7.8 percent for the nation. Its population continued to rise in 2012, to 1.8 million, and the area is supposed to generate about 25,000 new jobs in 2013, according to Austin-based Angelou Economics.
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, the fourth largest city in the United States, is only getting bigger. The MSA experienced an 8.15 percent growth in population from 2007 to 2011, to nearly 6.1 million citizens. Also growing is the city's GDP, 1.55 percent annually.
San Antonio, where the Eagle Ford Shale has spurred exponential growth in oil and gas drilling, has seen a 10.26 percent growth in population during the same period and a 1.47 percent compound annual growth in GDP.
Other metros on the list include Raleigh, North Carolina; New Orleans; Washington, D.C.; Oklahoma City; Nashville; Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington; Charlotte, North Carolina; and San Jose, California.