Paul Krugman writes about the connection between more housing nationwide, and more jobs:
it’s not hard to see how this recovery could become self-sustaining. In particular, at this point America is seriously under-housed by historical standards, because we’ve built very few houses in the six years since the housing bubble popped. The main thing standing in the way of a housing bounce-back is a sharp fall in household formation — econospeak for lots of young adults living with their parents because they can’t afford to move out. Let enough Americans find jobs and get homes of their own, and housing, which got us into this slump, could start to power us out.
Austin has had comparatively low rates of unemployment, in fact our economy has been rocking along pretty well while other parts of the U.S. have seen declines. The 2011/2012 economic forecast from Angelou Economics (pdf) said that “Austin’s economy will experience solid job growth in 2011 and 2012, with employment increasing by 18,800 and 25,100 jobs, respectively.”
New jobs will be created across the Austin economy, with leisure and hospitality and information showing the biggest gains. Job growth will remain strong in government, education and health care services, and retail. Growth in manufacturing as well as the transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector will remain slow. Professional services will have slow growth in 2011, but will approach pre-recession growth trends in 2012.
That as a year ago. On January 26 of this year, MetroStudyReport said that job growth had been positive, and housing inventories stable, for Austin through 2011.
In the 12 months ending in December 2011, 16,100 net jobs were gained in the Austin MSA. “In our view the most promising information from the most recent job figures is the minimal number of jobs lost in the last year in the Government sector. As recently as Spring 2011 reports indicated that job losses in these sectors could be significant in 2011 and 2012,” said Eldon Rude, director of Metrostudy’s Austin Region.
During 4Q11, 1,269 homes were started, up 17% from 4Q10. During that same time, 1,552 homes were closed, up 8% from 4Q10. The annual rate of starts in 4Q11 was 6,105 units, up 5% (261 units) from 4Q10. The annual rate of closings in 4Q11 was 5,941 units, down 7.8% (506 units) from 4Q10. “The annual rate of starts has been generally flat for nearly 3 years. The fact that annual starts exceeded annual closings in 2011 suggests that with inventory levels so low, new demand is resulting in the need to start more homes,” said Rude.