|Occupation Code||Austin Jobs, 2010||USA Jobs, 2010|
|Computer and Mathematical||6%||3%|
|Office and Administrative Support||18%||17%|
|Architecture and Engineering||3%||2%|
|Sales and Related||11%||11%|
|Business and Financial Operations||5%||5%|
|Education, Training, and Library||7%||7%|
|Healthcare Practitioners and Technical||4%||6%|
|Installation, Maintenance, and Repair||3%||4%|
|Construction and Extraction||4%||4%|
|Food Preparation and Serving Related||9%||9%|
|Transportation and Material Moving||4%||7%|
The wage graph is interesting. Austin’s average wage of $46,130 is higher than US average of $44,410, but Austin wages are below US averages for less skilled work (food preparation, transportation, production, construction). This might be due to the lack of unions in Texas. On the other hand, skilled white-collar work (education, business, finance, computers and office support) are above US averages. The higher Austin white-collar wages must reflect high worker productivity, which is not surprising given the highly educated workforce and presence of top technology companies in the Austin area.
Austin has a knowledge-based economy. In addition to state employees, the University of Texas at Austin (“UT”) is an important employer. Though some like to say Texas education is ‘bad’, the Longhorns rank as the #45 university in the USA, according to US News.  UT’s ranking is more impressive given that most of the top ranked universities are private (e.g. Ivy League). Texas-Austin is rated #13 amongst US public universities , tied at #13 with Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison and just ahead of my undergraduate alma mater, University of Illinois, #15.
There is an important point here, too. Some will downplay the Austin job growth by saying the city is the home of a state capitol and flagship university, therefore, the job growth is unimpressive. However, the similarly ranked University of Wisconsin sits in Madison, which is also a state capitol. Likewise Ohio State University stands in state capitol Columbus. Madison and Columbus have held their own compared to other Midwestern cities but are not even in the ballpark of Austin population and job growth. Champaign, home of the University of Illinois, has little growth. In fact, the Champaign example is instructive as it shows universities are excellent employers because they are stable and ride out recessions well. But, student populations grow very slowly, if at all, meaning the number of jobs directly tied to any university hardly changes. What matters is a culture of entrepreneurs and venture capital driving economic growth around universities. There is nothing automatic about economic growth in any particular city that houses an excellent university. One of the nation’s top public universities (#4, see ), University of Michigan, is located in the Detroit suburb of Ann Arbor. Despite its fantastic engineering program, Michigan has been unable to prevent the flow of jobs out of the Detroit area.
Michael Dell famously started Dell Computer in his University of Texas dorm room. Dell today leads the private employers in employment in the Austin metro area. Interestingly, Dell Computer now employs more than the University of Texas. The Top 20 list displays Austin’s strong technology presence as literally every single non-hospital corporation on the list is in technology (Dell, IBM, Freescale Semi, Solectron, AT&T Labs, AMD and Applied Materials). Another growth company founded and headquartered in Austin is Whole Foods.
Metro Austin Top 20 employers: 
1. State of Texas – 65,688 employees
2. Dell Computer – 14,000
3. University of Texas at Austin – 13,577
4. Austin Independent School District – 10,714
5. US Gov’t – 10,624
6. City of Austin – 10,000
7. Seton Healthcare – 7,538
8. IBM Austin Research Laboratory – 6,200
9. St. David’s Healthcare – 5,712
10. Freescale Semiconductor – 5,600
11. Internal Revenue Service – 4,728
12. Round Rock Ind. School District – 4,400
13. Travis County – 4,000
14. Austin Community College – 3,258
15. Solectron – 2,900
16. Leander Ind. School District – 2,800
17. Brackenridge Hospital/Dell Children’s Hospital – 2,537
18. Applied Materials – 2,500
19. AT&T Labs – 2,400
20. Advanced Micro Devices – 2,300
The conclusion is Austin has enjoyed stellar job growth in higher-than-average wage, white collar jobs. As always, your comments are welcome below.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_metropolitan_areas, retrieved 9/10/11.
 Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos MSA employment and mean wage data retrieved for total and Occupational categories in 2001 and 2010 from http://www.bls.gov/oes/2001/oes_0640.htm#otherlinks and http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tx.htm#00-0000.
 2008 Census Bureau data in http://www.austin-chamber.org/do-business/greater-austin/greater-austin-profile/population.php, retrieved 9/10/11.
 2007 Census Bureau data in http://www.austin-chamber.org/do-business/greater-austin/greater-austin-profile/population.php, retrieved 9/10/11.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States, retrieved 9/10/11.
 http://www.austintexashomes.com/topemployers.htm data retrieved 9/9/11.
Pictures from Wikipedia Commons.