Thursday, October 25, 2012

San Antonio Youth Migration

Yesterday, I blogged about how the shale energy rush was positively impacting San Antonio's economy. Today, I look at the talent migration into the metro. I'll start with today's news:

Broken down by age and metro area, the Washington, D.C., area ranked at the top of destinations for young adults in the 2009-2011 period, rocketing up from 45th in 2006-2008. The area has been boosted by its promise of more plentiful government-related jobs, as well as a continuing influx of students attending area universities and its up-and-coming neighborhoods.

Texas metro areas including Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, which already were on the rise before the recession hit in late 2007, have remained a strong draw for young adults due to in large part to their thriving energy and high-tech industries. They ranked second, fifth, sixth and ninth, respectively, in terms of youth migration.

Denver and Portland, Ore., rounded out the top five at No. 3 and No. 4.

Emphasis added. There is the energy industry growth again. You may not know about the tech side of San Antonio. Companies such as Rackspace are drawing from a global talent market. The result is an influx of young adults with a college degree, a notable departure from past migration tends:

The Jurjevich and Schrock study breaks up the analysis into two time periods, 2005-2007 and 2008-2010. In the earlier frame, San Antonio is nowhere to be found in the top-15. The metro jumps to #6 as the economy bottoms out and begins to recover. As I recounted yesterday, the uptick in urban energy and buzz is recent. San Antonio is ascendant.

As geographic mobility continues to pick up, San Antonio is a hot destination. It used to be a forgotten corner of the Texas Triangle, overshadowed by Austin. A restructuring economy will favor a new group of winners. Seattle, Portland, and Denver are among the usual suspects. Louisville, Pittsburgh, DC, and San Antonio comprise the vanguard.

In this emerging geography is where you will find the semblance of the new economy, post-innovation. I think talent production will be the key feature. Surprisingly, there are over 100,000 college students in San Antonio. It doesn't feel like a college town and the post-secondary culture is scattered around the sprawling metro in isolated enclaves. Regardless, San Antonio already has the means to be a major talent production player, which will in turn attract more people and jobs.

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