Prosperity projected for Austin
While plenty of questions still surround the national and global economies, Central Texas will continue to prosper over the next two years, according to Austin economic consultant Angelos Angelou.
In his 27th annual economic forecast Tuesday morning, Angelou said he sees no sign that the Austin area popu- lation and economy won’t power through 2013 and 2014. In fact, he said, growth will likely accelerate.
“We will have a healthy economy, the envy of many cities around the country,” he told the crowd gathered at the University of Texas’ AT&T Executive Education Conference Center. “Austin today leads the charts on every mea-
sure of economic growth one can think of.”
The area’s already booming population will expand another 7 percent by 2014, Angelou said, coming just a tick short of the 2 million mark. Meanwhile, Austin employers will add 29,000 jobs next year and another 30,000 in 2014, he said.
Angelou called that a conservative estimate, noting his forecast for 2012 was 19,500 new jobs. Austin employers are on pace to create about 25,000 jobs this year. As of October, Austin-area businesses accounted for 824,300 jobs, according to Texas Workforce Commission data.
“We don’t want to overshoot with our numbers, but … I’m very bullish for the local economy and its prospects for the next year,” he said.
Real estate, entertainment and what Angelou called “Austinpreneurship” will continue to fuel Central Texas’ growth.
Virtually every real estate sector is stretched toward capacity, he and a panel of local real estate experts said. Housing prices will increase with supplies tighter and demand accelerating after the mild slowdown of recent years.
Austin is drawing more and more visitors to longstanding events, such as South by Southwest, as well as new international events, such as the Formula One grand prix. Hotel rates and occupancies remain remarkably strong, generating tax revenue for the area.
The high-tech sector will continue to drive Austin innovation and economic growth, Angelou noted. The establishment of a medical school, along with incoming companies such as Apple, General Motors and, potentially, Visa will turbocharge both economic and job expansion.
Medical school, incoming firms will turbocharge growth.
So far in 2012, Austin has received two-thirds of all the venture capital invested in Texas, Angelou said, up from a typical rate of 40 percent. That level of investment helps build homegrown companies, but also attracts more workers and businesses from outside. For example, Angelou predicted that Apple could have as many as 12,000 workers in Austin by the time it completes its expansion here.
A panel of industry experts expressed similar — and in some cases, even more — optimism for the Central Texas economy over the next two years.
“In Austin, we pretty much have it all,” said Mike Kennedy, president and CEO of Commercial Texas, a real estate services firm. “Let’s enjoy it.”