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Market News and Trends

Austin employment picture remains positive


With sincere wishes for strong nationwide recovery soon, and not to harp on the continuing strength in Austin’s economy, these two pieces of news caught my eye today.  I have been writing and talking for many months about how Central Texas was largely insulated from the worst effects of the recession and housing crisis.  That contrast is brought into sharp focus by these articles:

National news:  Jobless claims surge in the latest week

“The number of initial claims in the week ending Jan. 16 rose 36,000 to 482,000, the Labor Department said.”

Austin news:  Job hunting? Your odds are about to go up, economists say

“Buoyed by continued population growth, the Austin metro area will add more than 26,000 jobs over the next two years, economist Angelos Angelou said Thursday ….  Ed Friedman , a director at Moody’s Economy.com who covers the Texas economy, also is predicting a jobs recovery in Austin, with 17,000 new jobs this year and 24,000 new jobs in 2011.”

The WSJ article and DOL source indicate that some seasonal reporting issues may has biased the latest national numbers up, but if so it’s because because previous weeks may have been understated.  Any way you slice that data, national employment numbers are not moving in the right direction.

As for Austin/Central Texas:

The youth of Austin’s work force, combined with its high skill level and entrepreneurial instincts, give Austin’s labor market a flexibility that other cities don’t have, Angelou said ….  “When faced with layoffs, many young and educated workers are not going to start collecting unemployment insurance — they’re going to be starting their own consulting businesses with friends and peers,” he said. “So they will never be registered as unemployed. So that boosts our employment numbers higher as well as keeps our unemployment rate lower.” He also listed a number of fields ripe for growth opportunity — renewable energy, data centers, creative media (such as video games), software development, and health care.

Entrepreneurship has thrived in Austin for many years, and continues to contribute in a big way.  

Other analysts and forecasters may be more cautious than Angelou and Friedman, but we have been adding jobs, albeit slowly, over the past several months so I am optimistic for continuing growth this year.  As I have blogged previously, the housing market in other areas can affect Austin’s ability to sustain this growth if potential employees are unable or can’t afford to sell their homes and make the move.

As pleased as I am to be in our relatively healthy local economic environment, we must never forget that in many ways we are all in this together! We still need a national surge in private sector employment.   That’s the keystone for all of us.

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About Bill Morris, Realtor

More than thirty years of business experience (high tech, client service, business organization and start-up, including many years in real estate) tell me that service is the key to success and I look forward to serving you. I represent both buyers and sellers throughout the Austin metropolitan area, which means first-hand market knowledge is brought to bear on serving your needs: -- Seller Representation is a comprehensive process that begins with thorough market analysis and consultation, continues with properly staging the home to achieve the highest price possible in a reasonable time on market, a complete program of marketing and promotion, ongoing updates and communication, closing coordination, and follow-up throughout (and after) the sale. -- Buyer Representation is also full service: shopping, previewing, price and market consultation, contracting, negotiating, coordination of inspections, appraisals, repairs, and closing details, and follow-up beyond the closing of your purchase to ensure your lasting satisfaction. Because the real estate industry is becoming more sophisticated and challenging every day, you need a professional that understands the industry and is positioned to stay ahead of the game. I go the extra mile to help you achieve your goals. That's why I constantly research the market and property values so your home is priced effectively from day one. I also make sure the public knows your home is for sale by using innovative advertising and marketing techniques to attract potential buyers.

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