The Perryman Report and Texas Letter talks about:
• Jobs – Texas added 39,600 jobs in April for a total of 332,300 jobs over the previous 12 months,
• Energy – Advances in technology in an amazingly short period of time have reduced the cost to produce oil. Three years ago $70 per barrel almost shut down the industry. Today that price accelerates an ongoing surge. Production is so strong that the Permian Basin will run out of pipeline capacity within the next 3 to 4 months until new pipelines can be completed in 2019.
• Business – Texas again winning the top award for corporation location and expansion projects from the Site Selection Magazine.
• Population – Texas is projected to reach a population of 30 million in the next 4 years.
The Federal Reserve of Dallas Texas Employment Forecast projects a whopping 412,600 jobs will be added to the state this year with a job growth rate of 3.3%. The 2018 forecast is significantly above 2017 job growth of 1.9 percent. The Fed’s Leading Index for Texas continues it’s positive three year trend after recovering from the downturn caused by the drop in the price of crude oil.
Three recent charts from Dallas Fed regarding the Texas Economy. Texas continues to hit on all cylinders for 2018.
Energy indicators improved in the first half of April, with oil prices rising the week of April 20 to highs last seen in 2014. The drilling rig count also continued to pick up, reaching a three-year high of 509.
The Texas Business-Cycle Index, a composite of state payroll employment, the unemployment rate and gross state product, is an aggregate measure of underlying economic activity in the state. The index increased at an annualized 5.4 percent in March, its fastest rate since November 2014 and well above last year’s pace of 4.4 percent.
The median price for Texas homes inched up slightly to a new high of $231,972 in February. Home inventories across the state remain below the six months considered to be a balanced market. Existing-home sales increased slightly in February and remain near the all-time high set at the end of 2017.
Overall taxation increasingly determines where people and companies choose to relocate. Last week Rob Chrisman talked about what makes homebuyers move in his daily newsletter. According to MarketWatch jobs are the determining factor for someone to relocate, second to state and local taxes.
ATTOM Data Solutions, national property database provider, released its 2017 property tax analysis for more than 86 million U.S. single family homes which shows that property taxes levied on single family homes in 2017 totaled $293.4 billion, up 6 percent from $277.7 billion in 2016 and an average of $3,399 per home — an effective tax rate of 1.17 percent.
For Daren Blomquist, Attom’s senior vice president, the story of national property taxes is the story of migration around the country. Blomquist told MarketWatch that taxes are “the icing on the cake” in areas that are seeing strong population inflows anyway.
“Among the counties that saw the biggest percentage of in-migration in 2017, according to Census data, all are in Texas, Florida, Georgia, or the Carolinas. Texas doesn’t have particularly low property taxes, but it has no personal income tax, making the overall tax burden much more manageable,” said Andrea Riquier of MarketWatch.
Texas is a pro-business state that continues to attract business and population.
Business Facilities Magazine ranked Texas as the top state in the nation for the Best Business Climate in the magazine’s 13th Annual Rankings Report. Out of all 50 states, Texas achieved the best overall performance in the 2017 State Rankings Report.
According to Texas Governor Abbott, “economic liberty is why Texas leads in job creation and in corporate expansion and relocations. Restrained government, lower taxes, smarter regulations, right-to-work laws and litigation reform—these are the pro-growth economic policies that help free enterprise flourish and that attract business to Texas from states that overtax and overregulate.”
Austin continues to attract businesses, and is a hub for corporate and regional headquarters, including AMD, Apple, Bazaarvoice, Cirrus Logic, Dell, Dimensional Fund Advisors, eBay, Facebook, Freescale, General Motors, Hanger, Hewlett-Packard, HomeAway, Home Depot, IBM, LegalZoom, National Instruments, Oracle, Whole Foods, and Visa. Check out the Austin Chamber of Commerce Austin’s major employers map.
Best and worst business climates.
24/7 Wall Street ranked best and worst business climates looking at nearly 50 measures of doing business, including economic conditions, business costs, state infrastructure, the availability and skill level of the workforce, quality of life, regulations, technology and innovation, and cost of living.
Massachusetts ranked No. 1 with a well-educated population that is a boon for state businesses. Such a population presents a more flexible and skilled talent pool for employers. Also, people with college educations tend to have higher incomes, which means they have more disposable income to spend. A nation-leading 42.7% of Massachusetts adults have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 31.3% of adults nationwide. The typical state household earns $75,297 a year, the fourth highest median income of any state and over $17,000 greater than the national median.
And, Louisiana ranked last. Working-age Louisianans are less likely than working-age Americans to have the qualifications for higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs. Just 23.4% of adults in the state have a bachelor’s degree, nearly the lowest percentage of all states. Unlike most states, Louisiana’s working-age population is also declining. In the Census’ American Survey of Entrepreneurs, 46% of state businesses reported unpredictable conditions having a negative impact on their business, and 48% reported slow business or lost sales, each among the highest shares in the country.
Texas ranked among the top states at No. 13.
According to USAToday, “like North Dakota and a few other oil-producing states, Texas’ economy has taken a beating from the more-than-three-years-long stretch of depressed crude oil prices. However, the state’s economy is more diverse than that of North Dakota, and GDP has contracted by just 0.3% in the most recently reported year. Credit agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s clearly recognize the state’s stability and rate its debt a perfect AAA and Aaa, respectively, with a stable outlook. The state’s businesses not only benefit from a stable economy, but also from a growing labor force. Texas’ working age population is projected to grow by 14.9% between 2020 and 2030, the fourth most of any state.”
Austin MSA stands out with 42.8% having a bachelor’s degree or higher, as compared to 28.9% in Texas, and 31.3% in the United States. And, WalletHub ranked Austin-Round Rock No. 9 in the Most & Least Educated Cities of America.
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Soaring Texas and US production will result in the US becoming the number one crude oil producer in the near future, possibly in 2018 with Texas providing about 40% of the total US production.
Last year, the U.S. pumped out more than 10 million barrels a day for the first time since the early 1970s, boosted by a rapid ramp-up in shale-oil output. US production has continued to rise this year: It reached 10.2 million barrels a day in January and is forecast to top 11 million by the end of 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Due to new technologies for drilling in shale formations, the increase in Texas oil production since 2010 has been dramatic and continues to grow. Texas Oil and gas production increased for the sixth quarter in a row.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas average prices to profitably drill a new well for the Permian Basin rose to $50 per barrel this year from $48 last year.
With the average price of crude oil ranging between $60 and $65, Texas oil producers have strong incentives to drill and produce more.
The bottom line: Texas remains a strong energy driven state. While Texas did not suffer as strong of a downturn with the drop in the price of oil after 2014 as it would have in the past with a similar drop in price, the economy has greatly benefited from the growth in oil production. With a projected oil price in the $60+ range for the rest of the year, the Texas energy sector will continue to boost the overall Texas economy. The risks of a drop in price from supply exceeding demand are offset by continued efforts from OPEC/Russia to limit production levels past 2018 and increasing concerns over the collapse of production from Venezuela.
At the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) Conference in Denver, Douglas Yearley, CEO of Toll Brothers presented the Keynote Address “A Vision for Homebuilding”. Here is a snapshot of his state of builder/buyer.
Business is good
Toll Brothers announced earlier this summer that they had the best spring selling season that it has had in the past ten years. This can be attributed to many things:
There are low inventories in most markets in used homes, and we finally have release of pent up demand. As the economy improves and personal balance sheets improve, pent up demand could bring people off the sidelines.
A slow recovery
According to Toll Brothers, we have seen a slower recovery than past cycles:
We are not quite where we should be. We are still behind the demand, but this only leave room for growth.
Buyers buying new and where the sun shines
There is a 32% premium from a new home to used home. The average is 18%. People are gravitating to buying new homes as the used inventory is older. And, energy efficiency and the opportunity to customize home is driving the premium.
More than 50% of Toll Brothers’ business in done in the West. Denver to the West is where builders are focused. Builders are focused on pro-business states, where land is available and where people want to live – where the sun shines. Boomers are buying in Florida, no big surprise here. And, Texas, a pro-business state, is doing very well in Dallas.
Demographics – the Boomer is driving growth
Baby boomers continue to drive Toll Brothers’ business. As they did for years when they moved to suburban areas to “move up”, and still today as they downsize and prepare for the next stage of their life. Many are buying into active-adult communities or are buying second homes in Palm Springs, Florida and Scottsdale, Arizona.
Design trends – casual family-friendly spaces
According to Toll Brothers the open, casual living with free flow indoor and outdoor space has completely caught on. People want casual environments where living space is connected. And, where the outdoors is a continuation of the home. Where the back of the home will be one big wall of glass making the outdoors, the indoors.
There is also a trend for multi-generational living. With additional living space with a sitting area, little kitchen area, direct access outside and separate entry in the home for older generations living with their family.
And, smart home solutions are evolving and expanding with the ability to remotely control the home.
Labor on the rise
We went from two million houses a year to 500,000. Labor dramatically went away. And, every market has a different issue; there is no national plumber. As we get further into recovery, we are seeing improvements and a return of the builder labor market. Contractors are ramping up their businesses. There is still cost pressure, but according to Yearley, it is definitely less now than it was a year or two ago.
Getting creative with land acquisition
For Builders it is all about the land – whether you are building one home or a master-planned community. You are stuck with the land once you buy it. Builders have to be much more creative in how they look for buy land because people want to live differently. Buyers want to live in a more connected community. And, creativity comes into play due to the availability of land in urban areas. An example of this creativity in land acquisition is buying a car dealership and renovating it. Or, building a park with the mixed use and condo development as part of the sales price for the land, like Maxwell House, former Maxwell House Coffee plant, in Hoboken, NJ. This was the largest in the world and a landmark on the Hudson River since 1939. What was a tragedy for Hoboken is now a trendy redevelopment leveraging both the best of the outdoor and the indoor space.
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The Counselors of Real Estate® (CRE) announced on June 14, 2017 the CRE 2017-2018 Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate at the National Association of Real Estate Editors Annual Conference in Denver last week. In the presentation Scott Muldavin, 2017 chair of The Counselors of Real Estate, revealed the Top Ten issues, and then broke out the impact on both residential and commercial real estate. Today I will cover how the Top Ten affects residential real estate according to CRE.
Watch any bit of news or fake news, and you know this one to be true, but how does this impact real estate? As we continue to see uncertainty about changes to trade, travel and immigration policy threaten cross-border investing, hospitality properties, retail and manufacturing supply chains. Middle class how ownership will also be impacted as interest rates rise.
The impact on residential real estate:
We have seen the boom in apps. It is now at an inflection point where the use of technology will totally effect the real estate industry. In 2016 2.7 billion was spent in real estate tech. This boom will change every aspect of buying and selling real estate, as well as the homes that we live in.
The impact on residential real estate:
Babyboomers and millennials are now about the same. According to CRE The Baby Boomers generation of approximately 74 million (born between 1946 and 1964) is now smaller than the Millennial generations of approx. 75.4 million (born roughly between 1980 and 1997.) A significant number of today’s real estate decisions, as well as those connected to the workplace and consumer spending are now made by people under the age of 40. For the first time people are living and working together (both old and young). Boomers are wanting to move to inner suburbs and want more of an experiential lifestyle. “Surban” areas are the new it. These are suburban urban areas that feel urban-esque. People are looking for an urban feeling in suburban areas.
The impact on residential real estate:
According to CRE, there is a trend toward transforming retail in to “experiential” continues and is offsetting the shrinkage in the physical “bricks mortars” consumer goods platforms. Half of all U.S. households are members of Amazon Prime. There is a fundamental behavioral change in how people shop. The emphasis is on “timely, fast delivery of goods to consumers. May retailers are adopting an “Amazon-like approach, creating new warehouses; new distribution methods; and new fulfillment models while, ironically “disruptive retailers” such as Amazon are opening physical stores. With these changes, up to 30% of malls expected to close, but with this comes opportunities to repurpose the malls Retails is not dying, it is just changing. It is resilient. This disruption is similar to when Sears had to reinvent themselves because of Walmart.
The impact on residential real estate:
We don’t really know what is going on with infrastructure now with the political polarization. It is clear that infrastructure investment is critical. 200 billion was spent over 10 years. 80% of which was state and local government. Mass transportation is being zeroed out. Don’t typically do tax reform or infrastructure spending in a time of growth.
The impact on residential real estate:
Affordability is a big issue. In Cleveland you can still buy a house for 80K. But, where jobs are being created there are huge affordability issues, i.e. Denver, West Coast… According to CRE, “Safe, decent, affordable housing has been shown to have a stabilizing effect on urban economies, crime, and public health. A current lack of inventory has generated a spike in home prices and, as a result, declining affordability for many home buyers, particularly those in lower income sectors. A critical disparity exists between housing needs and housing supply. Although improving home prices, economic growth, mortgage accessibility and rental development have improved housing access and affordability in many areas, a confounding series of supply-demand mismatches continues to severely impact markets worldwide. While the United States increasingly wrestles with the issue, a recent study of 300 metropolitan areas around the world ranked North America as a market with far fewer affordability problems than most.”
The impact on residential real estate:
According to CRE, “After successive post-recession years of insignificant gains, median household incomes in the U.S. rose in 2015 by 5.2% to $56,516. Still, despite this welcome increase, middle class incomes have yet to recover their pre-recession highs ($57,403 in 2007), and are actually hovering below inflation-adjusted levels from almost two decades ago ($57,909). Battered by automation and outsourcing, middle class jobs are still under pressure as the U.S. economy transitions from manufacturing to services.”
The impact on residential real estate:
According to CRE, “Building occupants are increasingly demanding that the space they inhabit be designed, constructed, and operated in ways that advance positive health outcomes. It makes intuitive sense that buildings could help or hurt health in that people spend 90% of their time indoors. Research from the Mayo Clinic also concludes that only 20% of health comes from health care, with environmental and behavioral factors accounting for 40%.”
The impact of residential real estate:
According to CRE, “New immigrants tend to rent, boosting demand for multifamily housing, especially in gateway cities. Recent surveys suggest that immigrant populations aspire to own homes and to move relatively freely from cities to suburbs and back in the search for employment. Labor mobility and homeownership rates will be constrained by limiting immigration. Industries like tech that demand highly skilled workers may be forced to innovate and substitute capital for labor if they cannot fill vacancies by recruiting foreign workers – constraining job growth. Longer term, if the entry of immigrant populations that tend to have larger households is curtailed, there will be a limit on the so-called demographic dividend for economic growth, with less of a labor force to support an aging population.”
The impact on residential real estate:
According to CRE, “In January 2017, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a new report based on the most up to date scientific evidence on sea level rise that more than doubles the 2013 forecasts of potential sea level rise by 2100 from 2.2 to 4 feet to 6.6 to 8.6 feet. Sea level rise is caused by both the thermal expansion of the oceans—as water warms up, it expands—and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets. These dramatic rises were due largely to new research on the role of the Antarctic in sea rises as well as improved forecast models. The Atlantic (Virginia Coast North) and western Gulf of Mexico Coasts’ sea rise is projected to be greater than the global average by .3 to .5 meters by 2100. Alaska and the Pacific Northwest are projected to be 0.1 to 1 meter lower.
While a potential rise of sea level by 6.6 to 8.6 feet by 2100 may seem far in the future, NOAA also estimates that annual frequencies of disruptive and damaging flooding would increase 25-fold with only a 14-inch increase in local sea level rise. Major cities such as Miami, New York, New Orleans, Tampa and Boston are projected to have the most costly problems, with South Florida and most coastal areas all exposed to differing levels of sea rise risk and cost.”
The impact on residential real estate:
CRE also identified three issues to watch including: tax reform and monetary policy, other policy issues and the cannabis.
The CRE Top Ten list is developed annually by members of the CRE organizations’ External Affairs group. The Counselors’ 1,100 members around the world undertake an extensive dialogue on current issue and trends to identify the final list. Click here to see the full list or follow #CRETopTen on Twitter.
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Texas is almost like a country in itself with 12 economic regions including: High Plains, West, Northwest, Metroplex, Upper East, Capital, Central, Southeast, Upper Rio Grande, Alamo, Gulf Coast and South.
Today I would like to take a look at what we Texans call “the Valley”, to look at our economy and job growth.
The much talked about border towns of Texas are growing, as is the opportunity for jobs. Texas’ South Region is comprised of the 28 counties covering the Gulf Cost and Mexico border and offers a “young, growing workforce”. According to the Texas Comptroller, “the South Region added more than 138,600 jobs from 2004 to 2014, led by Hidalgo County. Its 26 percent job growth accounted for 37 percent of the region’s net new jobs.”
Here is how South Texas ranked against Texas and the US on Job Growth.
Job growth 2004 – 2014
South Texas – 20.1%
Texas – 21.7%
U.S. – 5.5%
In the Texas Comptroller’s Regional Snapshot, they conclude that “The South Region is one of Texas’ fastest growing and most diverse. It overlies a portion of the Eagle Ford Shale that has helped fuel the state’s energy resurgence. It also serves as a hub for shipping, farming and manufacturing. Meanwhile, tourists flock to shoreline destinations such as Corpus Christi and South Padre Island.
The region offers a dynamic workforce. Both birth and graduation rates top state averages. It has also added jobs at a faster rate than Texas as a whole, though wages lag significantly behind the state average. Rapid growth, coupled with drought conditions, has strained the region’s water supplies.
Thriving cities, agriculture and mining helped drive Texas’ largest consumption increase over the past decade. In all, the region offers much promise. It will remain relatively young and culturally dynamic while supporting some of Texas’ key industries.”
Here is the rest of the story from the Comptroller.
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I have said before, 2017 is looking very hopeful – reports are predicting a slow and steady growth. We may not increase at a rate that we have in the past, but we are still on the rise. This is confirmed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Austin American Statesman. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released their Regional Economic data for December 2016, and all major metro business cycles indexes increased, except for a small dip for Houston.
The Austin American Statesman reports that Texas is ready to shift into 2nd gear in 2017. According to AAS, Keith Phillips senior economist of Dallas Fed, reported that, “Texas employers should expand payrolls by 2 percent this year, about 242,000 jobs. While far lower than the state’s long-run average, which typically exceeds national job growth rates, the job gains in 2017 are expected to surpass the estimated 1.6 percent annual growth rate through November of last year.”
Phillips said, “Texas still fared better than most energy states. And the Interstate 35 corridor, particularly Dallas and Austin, remained an exception to the otherwise modest growth in Texas.”
Phillips went on to say, “job growth picked up in the second half of 2016 due to a stabilization of the energy sector,” he said. “With that positive momentum, the Texas economy enters 2017 poised to shift into ‘second gear.”
Hear first hand from Phillips on how our Texas economy will be “slightly better than last year”.
Mine Yucel, Dallas Fed’s director of research, supported this with, “Despite the sharp drop in oil prices that sent the energy industry into a tailspin over the past two years, Texas did not drop into a recession at any point. And the modest recovery in commodity prices has helped stem the bleeding of oilfield services jobs and helped buoy statewide manufacturing outlooks.”
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A new year is full of potential – the promise of what is to come. People make resolutions and promises to themselves on what they want to accomplish or how they will improve in the year to come. Curiosity has gotten me when it comes to the resolutions people make, especially as we enter into the post-New Year’s Day weeks where these promises to ourselves begin to become less of a priority.
According to Inc.com the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions are:
Not too far off from what I was thinking: be healthier, kick an old habit, save money, advance your career… I don’t think there are any huge surprises on the list. Today I want to focus on one in particular – finding another job. If your resolution happens to be in line with #8, one of advancing your career or finding a new job then, this will come as good news to you. According to NerdWallet, Austin is the best city for job seekers.
Here are the Top 10 lists of cities for job seekers:
The report analyzed federal data for the 100 largest cities to see where there is the most potential coupled with affordability. Data included the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the increase in the working-age population from 2010-2015 with U.S. Census Bureau data, as well as census data for median earning and monthly rent in each city to factor in the cost of living.
Laura McMullen & Sreekar Jasthi at Nerd Wallet summarize the Top 10 list by saying job seekers should follow the young people, find fast growing hubs (like technology or healthcare), and head to the state capitals. And wherever you are, volunteer to grow your professional and friend network. They say to surround yourself by people who know and like you and want to help you. I could not agree with this more.
Two Texas cities made the list. Austin at #1 and Irving at #9. Austinites understand this, but for those looking to change up your career or job here is a breakdown for you on why Austin and the Dallas area could help you fulfill your new year’s resolution.
Unemployment in Austin was 3.2% in October 2016 and 3.6% in Irving. Texas unemployment held steady in December at 4.6% overall. And, according to Sterling’s Best Places, “the unemployment rate in Irving, Texas, is 3.60%, with job growth of 3.09%. Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 42.59%.”
High quality jobs in technology
Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2014-2024 employment projection says that technology is one of the fastest growing in terms of output. Austin is no stranger to technology, being the home of two major technology companies, Dell and IBM, with many other companies following suit, like Apple. Forbes argues that Austin is the most attractive tech hub attributing the draw to the “young, educated population, large VC presence and burgeoning restaurant and music scene”. Companies see the potential of Austin’s labor pool and are taking advantage of this to grow their tech advantages.
According to Christopher Calnan at the Austin Business Journal, “Texas ranks No. 2 in the nation for number of tech jobs, 585,614, second only to California. And, tech companies accounted for 6 percent of the Lone Star State’s private sector jobs, the report by Computing Technology Industry Association found.”
So, the jobs are here, and per CIO.com Austin salaries are 106% of the national average. Not too bad. For a detailed look at wages, here is snapshot of tech salaries by industry from the Austin American Statesman. In addition, the Salary Increase Forecast for U.S. Jobs projects a 3.3% increase in tech salaries from the 87K median salary as reported by the Economic Research Institute.
This is exciting news for our city.
Job growth in healthcare
On the healthcare side Will Anderson with the Austin Business Journal says that, “in the health care sector, the opening over the summer of the Dell Medical School is expected to accelerate the development of a business ecosystem that combines the city’s existing care centers with entrepreneurial startups and innovators in medicine.”
Irving attributes much of its growth to technology. According to the Irving Chamber of Commerce, “Irving was recently ranked number three for tech startups per capita in the United States by American Express through research conducted by SizeUp.com. In addition, the City of Irving is the first city in Texas and the second in the nation to earn the Malcom Baldrige Quality Award.”
The Irving Chamber of Commerce also notes that “five of Irving’s approximately 50 Fortune 500 companies have chosen Irving for their global headquarters: Celanese, Commercial Metals, ExxonMobil, Fluor and Kimberly-Clark. Irving is home to more of the DFW Metroplex’s largest private and public companies than any other city except Dallas, including Citi, Microsoft, Verizon, NEC Corporation, Allstate Insurance Company, Time Warner Cable, RIM (BlackBerry), Aviall, Michaels Stores, Pioneer Natural Resources, CEC Entertainment and TXU Energy.” These companies choosing Irving, TX as their home base no doubt makes it a hot bed for career opportunities for job seekers.
So, how about it, are you ready to make the move to one of our great Texas cities? The opportunity is definitely here.
And, of course, I would love to help you with Resolution #7. If you are trying to read more, please subscribe to my updates.
So, we know that Austin is the Silicon Hills of the South and leads the tech corridor in microchip development, tech startups and venture capital funding, outside of cities like San Francisco. I recently received the Patent Activity Report produced by Beverly Kerr, VP, Research at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, and it became ever more evident to me why we are the incubator of tech development and why inventors, developers and top technology companies flock to our great city. The opportunity and the amazing talent pool is right here in our backyard.
Per the report:
These are some fantastic stats for our city and the future of tech development. According to Beverly, “patent activity is a primary indicator of Austin’s climate for innovation and is key to the region’s ability to sustain its competitive edge. Austin’s economic growth, exports, and job creation are uncommonly dependent on the concentration of high tech industries in our economy.”
Now, let’s get into the details and what this means for us.
The tech talent pool is right here
Patent growth is a direct result of the talented developers who work tirelessly to improve not only technology, but also processes and product design. We see this in Austin. According to Avalanche Consulting, Austin ranks #5 in the United States as The Most Talented U.S. Metros. We know we have a great workforce, but it is nice to have it confirmed.
In addition, according to the American Community Survey (ACS) 2015, the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program, the Austin MSA has a 89.2% educational attainment – this is the percent of the population that attended high school or higher. 69.5% of Austin’s population has attended some college, 42.6% has a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, and 14.8% have a Graduate Degree. Austin stands above other major metro markets, ranking 6th out of the 50 largest metros for percent of the population with at least a Bachelor’s Degree according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Patent growth and its tie to jobs
Austin has the perfect environment for this talent. According to Innovate Austin, Austin has 46 tech incubators, accelerators, maker and co-worker spaces, and 5,485 high-tech companies, providing a hot bed of activity for our workforce.
It is noted in the Patent Activity that IBM is consistently the top patented company in Austin. The Austin location has in the past had the highest number of patents, beat out only by Yorktown Heights, IBM’s largest research lab. Recently there has been a decline by 52% in Austin IBM patents compared to New York, but Austin still ranks above the San Jose and other major U.S. lab locations.
Business leaders have witnessed companies’ success after success in Austin. Since 2000, IBM and Dell’s success have been drivers to bring other companies to Austin. In 2016, we have seen companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple and other giant California-based tech companies expanding in Austin or looking to setup shop. Companies moving to Austin will not only stimulate the economy, but also create jobs and, as a result, increase housing demands.
Technology trends in line with recent influx in patents
“Among the larger patent classes in Austin, ‘Semiconductor Device Manufacturing: Process’ has seen the greatest decline in patents issued,” said the Patent Activity Report. This is in line with what we are seeing with rumblings of semiconductor company declines and acquisitions.
The report continues, “a smaller but growing ‘life sciences’ grouping made up of what the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) calls ‘body treatment and care’ plus selected classes under ‘life and agricultural sciences and testing methods’ shows significant growth (210%) in Austin between 2001-2005 (211 patents) and 2011-2015 (443 patents).” This patent growth can be attributed to the over 200 life sciences companies now in the region fueling this growth in new products.
Virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) companies are on the rise in Austin. If you look at the Top 20 Hot Austin Startups to Watch in 2017, you will see that several VR and AI startups are in the rankings.
With our talent pool, technology prowess and entrepreneurial spirit, I am excited to see what new technology comes out of Austin. The proof is in the patents.
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