Economist Offers Forecast for Austin in 2014

Excerpts from Community Impact News:

Predictions for Austin regionThe Greater Austin area will continue to thrive in 2014, according to one economist.

Angelos Angelou delivered his 29th annual economic forecast Dec. 12.

He predicted that Austin would add 57,000 new residents and about 29,000 new jobs in 2014, and have a 4.8 percent unemployment rate by the end of 2015.

Austin in 2013

In 2013, the Austin metro area added 54,700 people, roughly 27,200 new jobs and had a 5 percent unemployment rate, he said.

It also had $27.2 billion in retail sales, Angelou reported.

He said the city’s main economic drivers included its entrepreneurs and its tech, real estate and entertainment sectors.

Venture capital spending totaled $518 million in the past 12 months—about $100 million less than in 2012, he said.

Angelou said software, semiconductors and information technology services dominated Austin’s venture capital funding scene.

“Investing in the innovation remains the key to Austin’s prosperity in the future,” he said.

Austin’s high-tech industry added 5,000 new jobs in 2013 for a total of roughly 120,000 jobs in the field.

Austin’s real estate market remains strong, he said. Angelou mentioned several major construction projects, including new hotels and condominiums.

Vacancy rates have reached record lows, he added. Rates for office, industrial and retail spaces are less than 10 percent, 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively, he said.

“I cannot find any Realtor who will not tell me that homes are being bid up in Austin,” he said. “You cannot buy anything at asking price; you have to bid it up sometimes 5, 10 or 15 percent.”

Angelou said major events such as Austin City Limits, South by Southwest Conferences and Festivals and the U.S. Grand Prix have generated an estimated $800 million annually for the local economy.

Austin in 2014 and beyond

He said Austin’s economy would experience “good, solid growth” in 2014 and 2015. Austin will add 28,900 jobs in 2014 and 30,400 jobs in 2015, he said.

Angelou envisioned that Austin would become more eco-friendly and densely populated, and add more education and transportation options—a vision he summarized as “green cities grow up.”

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