Austin, Texas One of the Best Cities for Job Seekers

Chalk up another reason to live in the Austin area. Forbes recently published a list of the top ten cities in the U.S. for job seekers. It was based on research conducted by Adecco Staffing U.S., an employment agency. Austin, Texas was ranked #2 on the list.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate within the Austin metro area fell to 5.3% in February. That was far below the national average of 7.7% for the same month. This is good news for the thousands of students who graduate from the University of Texas each year, many of whom stay in the Austin area after graduation.

The city’s unemployment rate hit a high of 7.4% during the summer of 2011, due to recession-fueled job losses. But even at its peak, the metro area’s job market was doing better than the nation as a whole. Over the last year or so, the local unemployment rate dropped by 0. 7%, further evidence of a strengthening job market.

How Austin Attracts Employers

Downtown Austin
Downtown Austin. Photo by Ed Schipul.

Texas has never had trouble attracting companies, and that goes double for Austin, the state capital. The city is chock full of talented young workers, thanks to the large university that calls it home. Housing is very affordable, compared to most other metro areas. And there’s a wealth of recreational and cultural activities to enjoy.

Often referred to as the ‘Live Music Capital of the World,’ the city hosts a number of annual music events, including the Austin City Limits (ACL)¬†Music Festival and South By Southwest.

“Austin has really become known as a great place to live,” said Kristy Willis, a senior vice president at Adecco Staffing. “[It is] known for its diversity and cultural activities.”

Texas Governor and former presidential hopeful Rick Perry has been aggressive in recruiting companies from other states. In fact, he recently returned from an economic development (headhunting) trip to Chicago. According to an official press release, the Governor has spent more than $80,000 on advertising in the Windy City, targeting business leaders. Say what you will about him as a presidential candidate — the man knows how to attract companies to his state.

Healthcare is one of the city’s major employers. The area just north of Austin proper has become one of the premier medical ‘corridors’ in the entire central U.S.

The tech industry is also well represented in the Austin area. Computer company Dell calls the city home, as do National Instruments, Silicon Laboratories, and Wayport (a company that provides Wi-Fi services to hotels, airports and retail sites). Those are just the companies headquartered in Austin. There are dozens of out-of-state tech companies with regional offices located in the city. The same goes for other industries, as well.

Healthy Housing Market

Austin’s housing market is sailing along nicely, as well. This is due to the fact that Texas largely avoided the kind of real estate speculation that inflated home prices elsewhere in the country. Property values in Texas didn’t skyrocket during the bubble days, as they did in places like Phoenix and Southern California. So they didn’t have very far to fall when the nation’s housing system crashed. As a result, the Austin housing market is in great shape right now.

Having lived in the Austin area for six years, I can attest to the many good things this city has to offer. Of course, the traffic leaves something to be desired. But that’s another story entirely.