2009 was a tough year for job creation in the United States. Since job creation drives home prices, the 2009 job losses are likely to leave a lasting impact.
How lasting? Economists estimate that it may take the United Stated 125 months (10+ years) to fully recover the jobs lost during the great recession of 2009. In Texas, which had the strongest job growth of any state over the last decade, it is predicted to take 37 months or just over 3 years for the job losses to be recovered.
So, what about Austin? In 2009, Austin lost 2,600 jobs. In a normal recovery, the city would be expected to make up these losses in about two months — that’s 10 years and 3 months faster than the rest of the country. Local economist Angelos Angelou is predicting 26,300 new jobs and a healthy real estate environment through 2011 while warning that Austin’s economic development performance, especially around clean technology, is lagging.
While the future looks bright, we are not out of the woods yet. Technology does not perfectly follow the normal business cycle and Austin remains disproportionately dependent on the technology industry. In new areas like clean technology and biotech, the City is losing ground. Until we see job losses in the tech industry end, we’re unlikely to see strong local job growth.
That said, the economic mood in town is definitely improving. One example of this is the local single family home market. In December, Austin home buyers returned in force, increasing sales 5 percent from the same time in 2008. The median price of the 1,373 homes sold in December rose to about $194,000, an increase of 6 percent year over year.
The bottom line is that we are very very very lucky. There is almost no other place in the U.S. that has emerged from 2009 as unscathed as Austin, Texas.