The Central Texas economy paid its dues in the late 1980s and again in 2001-2002 with the end of the “dot-com” bubble, giving up significant percentages of home values and, particularly six or seven years ago, substantial high-tech employment. After that last downturn, we entered a new phase of strong but reasonable growth — very different from the “gold-rush” that California, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida experienced. That allowed our housing market to weather the past couple of years much better than over-inflated metros in those areas.
An article in today’s Austin American-Statesman indicates that we are feeling the nationwide recession nonetheless:
Central Texas job losses are deepest since 2003
Unemployment rate dips slightly to 7.2 percent, still near record levels.
Year-to-year, Austin’s total employment has clearly moved in the wrong direction, but we actually gained a very modest number of jobs from July to August — almost unique nationally. Still, Angelos Angelou, well-respected economist and forecaster, says that there is a risk that perceived weakness in our job-creation prospects could slow in-migration and complicate our expected early recovery.
I remain optimistic that we will find 2010 the beginning of a strong new market cycle. With caution, a variety of local business people offer their similar opinions in this article, also from today’s Austin American-Statesman:
Austin businesspeople look for signs of a rebound: http://www.statesman.com/business/content/business/stories/other/2009/09/20/0920austinecon.html
I am making a conscious effort to keep from being pollyannish about this, but long experience working here, and my daily exposure to ground-level market forces, lead me to believe that we’ll be just fine. Look forward to spring and summer 2010.
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