Chart of the Week – DFW’s Economic Innovation

Last week we highlighted that DFW captured a top spot in the most “competitive” cities in the US and globally according to Site Selection magazine.

Going hand-in-hand with that is our market’s ability to create jobs.  These job gains obviously come from companies growing organically, as well as large relocations (like Toyota).  One area that flies under the radar, however, is the role of new companies forming.  These businesses, often small, are critically important in driving growth – and help define an area’s “vitality”.  Quite simply, these smaller companies are sometimes the innovators of products and ideas – and can be the genesis of tomorrow’s large corporations that define a region.  For DFW, think back to the early days of TI, EDS, and Frito-Lay.

The chart below summarizes the major US markets by the number of NET NEW companies (employing less than 50 people) created between 2010 and 2013 – essentially looking at the strength of the regional economies since the start of this growth cycle.  I get tired making this observation, but DFW’s pro-growth, low-cost business environment, and “entrepreneurial spirit”, helped propel our community to the top ranks, based on both raw numbers and percent.  Overall, we had more than 7.500 net new small businesses created, or 5.7%.  Few markets come anywhere close to this level of expansion.  In addition, DFW scored high in the medium-sized company category, with that segment expanding by 10% over the period.

What’s important here is that site selection professionals and relocating companies often use this metric to compare an area’s vitality or ability to innovate.  In the case of DFW, our market continues to stand out as a place to do business and to grow businesses – which should mean that we will continue to win more than our fair share of economic growth over the foreseeable future.

Chart of the Week 12.16.15

Global real estate investors like London, Munich — and Austin

The idea of Austin as a significant global hub for technology is well-established, but Austin as a tempest of real estate investment? Apparently so.

Jeff Coddington, senior vice president of capital markets for JLL in Austin, says he has the data to prove it.

According to JLL’s “Globalisation and Competition: The New World of Cities” report, Austin is one of the top metros in the world for the velocity of commercial real estate deals relative to size. See the full report here.

Austin ranks No. 12 in the world in JLL’s Investment Intensity Index. It’s No. 4 in the U.S., being edged out only by Honolulu; San Jose, California; and San Francisco. The index measures real estate investment as a proportion of the city’s gross domestic product.

Read more on the Austin Business Journal

Here’s the main reason Toyota is moving from California to Texas

Sure, the low taxes, relaxed regulatory environment and Central Time Zone are nice. But none of those factors tops the list of reasons Toyota decided to plant its North American headquarters in Plano, bringing in more than 3,000 jobs, mostly from California.

The main driver of Toyota’s move from Torrance, California, was housing costs, according to Albert Niemi Jr., dean of the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, who has inside knowledge about the move. Niemi shared the anecdote at an SMU Cox Economic Outlook Panel on Friday morning.

Read more on the Dallas Business Journal

Chart of the Week – DFW, one of the most competitive cities!

The publisher for Site Selection magazine just released a report on the most competitive cities globally.  Their approach utilized hard data, augmented by local and new project investments, buttressed by a survey of site selection executives regarding “competitiveness”.  Their goal was to identify “true city competitiveness” by highlighting the top-five cities in a dozen industry sectors.

DFW jumped out with only a quick skim of the executive summary!  Why?  Because we were in the top-five cities across 10 of the 12 industry sectors.  We talk all the time about our region’s diversity and its value.  This is a clear example of how valuable that diversity is as a driver and how it gives us an incredible edge for both organic growth and business relocations – and may partially explain the high level of job gains we have been seeing.  The chart below highlights the industries where DFW scored in the top five.

So with such a strong showing, the next question has to be – who was ahead of us?  Well, only one global / US market beat us with 12 of 12 – that was Dubai.  This emphatically positions DFW as an up-and-coming world city.  Attached is a link to last week’s press release.

Chart of the Week 12.9.15

Three takeaways from strong November jobs report

The final jobs report of the calendar year points to an economy entering 2016 with solid tailwinds that should help knock down the unemployment rate further next year.

Employers added a better than expected 211,000 new jobs in November and the jobless rate held steady at 5 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.

“Job growth is strong and steady,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “Full employment is fast coming into view.”

Here are three important takeaways:

Job growth broad

Economists cheered both the revisions to October numbers and hiring gains across most sectors. October’s strong 271,000 number was revised upward, with the government now saying it was actually 298,000. It means there is momentum in the jobs market into 2016.

Incumbents’ windfall

The party holding the White House tends to benefit when the economy is strong. Absent unforeseen events on the global stage, the economy is expected to further improve next year. Hiring is solid and accelerating as the nation readies to select a new president.

3-2-1 liftoff

Two solid months of hiring gives the Federal Reserve room later this month to finally raise its benchmark interest rate for the first time in almost a decade. The action, expected on Dec. 16, is dubbed “liftoff,” since it will begin a slow years-long upward climb in lending rates across the economy.

Read more from the Star-Telegram

5 key points: Texas economy grew at a ‘modest’ pace over last two months

The Texas economy grew at a “modest” pace from mid-October through late November — about the same as the rest of the country as we gear up for the holidays, according to a statewide economic snapshot released today by the Federal Reserve.

Overall, economic activity increased at a “modest” pace in 10 of the Fed’s 12 districts nationwide during the six-week period, according to the Fed’s Beige Book report. Growth in the New York district leveled off and the Boston District saw somewhat slower growth. Consumer spending increased in nearly all districts, except New York.

While the Fed report is not stellar, it is good — more in a stream of recent data showing the the U.S. economy is strong and steady. In addition, Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen in a speech today set the stage for an interest rate hike later this month, something many economists have been expecting.

Read more from the Dallas Morning News

New supply kicks San Antonio office vacancy upward, but not for long

Increasing demand for more variety in San Antonio’s office market has finally been met, resulting in an influx of new construction and with it, higher vacancy rates.

But those aren’t expected to stick around for long.

According to REOC’s latest office market report, more than 263,000 square feet was added to the San Antonio market through three new office structures in the third quarter of this year. As a result of the new supply, the citywide vacancy rates ticked up from 17.5 percent last quarter to 18 percent at the end of September 2015.

However, due to explosive job growth and an increasing interest in companies planting roots in the San Antonio market, that vacancy rate is expected to turn right back around. REOC and the Xceligent Office Advisory Board, both of which surveyed more than 29.7 million square feet of office lease space for the report, expects recent job growth in the San Antonio-New Braunfels metro area to weigh down that rising vacancy. The increase of 35,000 jobs in the area over the past 12 months — an annual growth rate of 3.7 percent — will start to trigger jumps in the market’s occupancy levels.

Read more from the San Antonio Business Journal

Dallas-area apartment rents up almost 7 percent

Dallas-area apartment rents are continuing their round of scorching increases.

In October Dallas-area rents were up almost 7 percent from a year earlier, according to a new report from Axiometrics Inc.

Dallas-area renters on average paid $1,074 a month for an apartment, the research firm said. In the Fort Worth area, average rents were was $965.

“The Dallas-Fort Worth area continues to be among the most robust in the nation,” said Axiometrics vice president Stephanie McCleskey in the just-released report. “Fort Worth has outperformed Dallas for most of this year, largely because of the lack of new supply coming into Tarrant County.

Read more on the Dallas Morning News

Will Austin-San Antonio be the next DFW?

By 2030, the Texas Water Development Board estimates the population of the Austin-San Antonio corridor will grow by a staggering 1.44 million people.

All 13 counties in the corridor are expected to see population gains ranging from 20% to almost 70% according to a report. And though suburbs like San Marcos and New Braunfels are expanding enough to bridge the gap along I-35, the cities of Austin and San Antonio are expected to retain their individual vibes.

Read more from Bisnow

The past 12 months have been stellar for Austin’s unemployment rate

It’s official: Austin’s monthly unemployment rate has remained under 4 percent for an entire year. New unemployment numbers show the region’s jobless rate essentially holding steady in the low three percent range.

The latest jobs report from the Texas Workforce Commission, released Friday, shows that Austin’s unadjusted unemployment rate held steady in October at 3.3 percent for the second-straight month, down from 3.8 percent in October 2014.

Read more from the Austin Business Journal