Austin Economics

I wanted to share an article that was shared with me.  The local economic expert Angelos Angelou and local businessman Tom Merideth reported:

What does the future hold for Austin? Respected economist tells all


By: Jan Buchholz, Austin Business Journal


Austin is at the convergence where great legacy meets lost opportunity. The big question is how will this bustling Texas capital city cope with rapid growth and maintain its cool caliber of life?

That was the discussion that unfolded Thursday at the 2015-2016 Austin Economic Forecast presented for the 30th year by AngelouEconomics.

Local economic development expert Angelos Angelou presented the data and his interpretations, and local business titan Tom Meredith gave his take on what future holds — or should hold — including a plan for a subway system.


Here’s a look at some of the other salient points from the program:

•      About 66,000 people moved to Austin last year. Some 39,100 jobs were created, the most in the professional and business services sector followed by leisure and hospitality, retail, education and health, construction and financial activities.

•      Austin is expected to add 69,400 new jobs in 2015 and 2016. Most of those will be in professional and business services.

•      Austin has the most expensive housing in the state with average home costs inching towards $300,000 — up 187 percent since the early 1990s. “We’re not overpriced. We have a high price,” Angelou said. “Our home prices have gone up way too fast too quickly. We need (more) supply to take care of that.”

•      More than 40 percent of Austin residents pay more than 35 percent of their income on housing. “That’s a huge percentage. I hope this trend does not continue,” Angelou said.

•      The escalating real estate appreciation makes it particularly difficult for people in creative fields to find affordable housing. Houses costing $150,000 or less are practically non-existent. “Austin might eventually price itself out of that market … I hope prices will stabilize,” Angelou said.

•      In the next two years, about 3.6 million square feet of office space will be absorbed. Those numbers are 700,000 square feet in the industrial sector and 1.6 million square feet of retail space. About 18,500 single family residents should be added to the housing stock as well as 16,500 new apartment units. “Let’s hope that all the single-family homes are built,” Angelou said.

•      The Austin of tomorrow will include a more shared economy — sharing of resources, talents and amenities. Medical and life science-related businesses will proliferate, the so-called “Internet of Things” will continue steady and the economy will be entrepreneurial driven.

•      Austin needs to focus on providing more higher education opportunities, which have grown at a very modest rate for many years — “or we could lose our edge,” Angelou said.

•      The economic drivers in Austin 30 years ago were population growth, government activities, emerging high technology and education. Today’s economic drivers are population growth, technology and enterprise, education and health and the festival economy led by South By Southwest, the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest and the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas race track. Collectively, those special events have contributed about $1.4 billion to the economy in the past two years.

•      Work commutes have increased 57 percent between 2000 and 2013. Vehicle miles have increased 283 percent in that time frame and hours delayed on the roads is up 1,037 percent. The cost of congestion is up 2,356 percent.

•      The rate of personal savings has started to fall again after several years of more frugal spending. A low savings rate “makes our economy more susceptibe,” Angelou said. “We need to do more to save. (This is) our pervasive Achilles’ heel.”


Newly elected Mayor Steve Adler also briefly addressed the crowd of about 800 people about his leadership and the new configuration of 10 City Council members representing geographic districts.

Angelou presented the numbers — numbers about population growth, job growth, retail sales, tax collections, housing starts, venture capital investment and household income, to name a few.


The numbers don’t lie, of course, but then again, they don’t always tell the full story.


There’s no doubt, based on the data, that Austin and Texas as a whole have excelled greatly during the past decade — attracting hundreds of thousands of jobs and new residents.


But all of this could come to a screeching halt if three pivotal issues aren’t quickly and sufficiently addressed — the lack of sustainable water sources, antiquated transportation systems and housing costs that have skyrocketed.

Angelou also addressed concerns about falling oil prices and how disastrous that could be with the energy industry heavily entrenched throughout Texas.


Though he believes 150,000 jobs related to oil-and-gas production could be lost — primarily in Houston and West Texas — if crude oil prices remain around $55 a barrel, Angelou also believes other industry sectors will benefit and expand with lower fuel costs. So current oil-and-gas conditions shouldn’t spell doom or gloom for the state.


Link to Article: