Austin's economy just doing OK

SMU Cox School of Business economist talks about Austin's jobs picture compared to different perspectives.

By Kirk Ladendorf and Brian Gaar

How does Austin's job picture look these days?

It depends on your perspective.

Compared with Austin's go-go job growth years of the 1990s, things look horrible, as the latest growth rate for local jobs is up just 2 percent from a year ago.

But compared with the current figures for the rest of the nation's top 100 metropolitan areas, any job growth looks OK.

With the global economy teetering on the precipice of a European financial disaster, 2 percent is more than OK. ...

"Like it or not, we live in a global economy," said Bernard Weinstein, an economist with the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

"The near-term prospects for the Austin economy will be determined by the performance of both the U.S. and global economies. Austin is fortunately endowed with a number of cutting-edge industries, but these industries are also subject to the vicissitudes of the global economic winds."