Booming economy, housing market could mean bright outlook for UT graduates

Lazaro Hernandez

Austin’s current economic development has garnered national attention, placing it high on prominent lists ranking the economy, jobs and the real estate market. The city’s economic success coupled with dropping unemployment rates could mean good news for graduating students.

Austin ranked second in a list of best U.S. job markets compiled by Adecco Staffing U.S., a national employment agency. The rankings are based on information from the company’s 900 national branches, as well as local unemployment rates, the number of job openings in the past six months and an overall assessment of the economic environment in each city.

Forbes Magazine ranked Austin the number one “Best Big City for Jobs” in 2012 based on Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data from the past 12 years, and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an international professional service firm, named Austin the second best real estate market to watch.

J. Bruce Kellison, associate director of the Bureau of Business Research at UT’s IC² Institute, said the presence of the state government and the University in Austin contributed to the city’s economic success during the economic downturn, which included good real estate and job markets.

“Those two, [the state government and UT] served as anchors during the economic downturn and contributed to the city being able to keep from suffering as much as other parts of the country,” Kellison said.

With several technology companies, including Apple and Samsung, recently announcing expansions in Austin, Kellison said he sees a promising economic future in the city. General Motors also announced in September it will open an IT innovation center in Austin which will create 500 new jobs.

“With things like Formula 1 moving here, attracting out-of-country visitors, and the fact that there is continued growth in the technology sector, I see the Austin economy only getting stronger from here in the next few years,” Kellison said. “Interest rates are going to stay down, so business and home ownership should recover as the national economy gets stronger.”

Brian Talley, owner and real estate broker for Regent Property Group, an Austin-based real estate company, said he has seen an obvious improvement in the real estate market over the past three years.

“Austin seems to have the ‘cool’ factor and high quality of life that is helping lure talent from all over the world, which has a continuous positive impact on the housing market,” Talley said.

“The future looks bright for the Austin housing market so long as the global markets side-step any major issues.”

Robert Vega, assistant director for the UT Liberal Arts Career Center, said the job market in Austin looks good for graduating students as more companies move into the city, but students still need to plan ahead to ensure they can find a job immediately upon graduating.

“Austin continues to attract new businesses that in turn increases the number of job opportunities,” Vega said. “However, we recommend that all students start post-graduation planning early to help increase their competitiveness as an eventual full-time job candidate.”

Printed on Friday, October 12, 2012 as: Economic growth places Austin at top