The Top 10 Report: Austin Good for Jobs, Growing Fast & Full o' Cheatin' Hearts
Woohoo! Yeehaw! Nary a week goes by when Austin doesn't score big on some Top Cities or national Best Of ratings. It's an indication of how much we've grown in population and commerce not to mention stature over the last two decades since this burg was still a sleepy lil' slacker college town and state capital.
These ratings and citations generally do us proud but also point to problems to be heeded. For now, they provide a quick read on the civic temperature and for the most part declare: Come on in! The water's fine. Even if it is a bracing 68 degrees year round in Barton Springs and a similar annual average of 71.7 in the open air.
For this writer who arrived here before the population boom – and yeah, Austin was so much cooler before the rest of y'all moved here, just like everybody says – it's not yet time to think about somehow putting the brakes on the growth that has made Austin one of the nation's top cities on numerous scales and metrics. But I'm monitoring things closely....
Yes, Even You Can Get a Job
One good piece of news for the newly arrived, the underemployed and members of the UT 2013 graduating class who want to stick around: NerdWallet.com just named Austin #1 in its Best Cities for Job Seekers list. They say that due to "the highest percent growth in population and the lowest unemployment rate, Austin is a clear winner as the best choice for job seekers."
Couple that with the fact that Forbes magazine rated us as #8 midway through last year among Cities Where a Paycheck Stretches the Furthest, and one has admit that, yo, life can be pretty sweet here.
Come Visit, Unless You're Into Fancy Hotels
TripAdvisor.com says we are also the #1 U.S. travel Destination On The Rise. Alas, on the Best Hotels in the USA rankings done by U.S. News & World Report, only the Four Seasons made the list, and at a lousy #162. Narrow the field down to just Texas, and the Four Seasons is #6 and the Driskill is #8, which I guess is some small consolation. But with such tourist draws as SXSW, F1 and all the other races coming up at the Circuit of the Americas track, ACL Fest and the other events that attract tourists in the millions to our town, c'mon, local hoteliers, it's time to step up your game.
We recently came in at #2 on the Milken Institute's Best-Performing Cities list, based on jobs, wages and technology sector stats from the last five years. And FBI crime data indicates we're America's fourth Safest City, beating out our overflow valve to the north, Round Rock, which landed at #16.
We are also the #4 Most Surprising Real Estate Market according to Realty Pin, The Atlantic's #5 Healthiest Housing Market, and #5 in Newest Housing Stock according to an analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau. Anyone who lived here through the 1990s will understand the quip that "real estate is the new massage therapy."
One ranking that may well be argued by those who live here is that Austin is the #8 Best Run City according to 24/7 Wall St. Anyone currently going through the city's permitting process may quibble with that as well as those of us waiting for leadership, vision and action by the city on mass transit solutions to the ever worsening traffic. We come in at a shameful #21 on Public Transit among U.S. cities according to Walk Score, with our score of 33 well below the cutoff point of 50 for "some or minimal transit." Hello? Cap Metro? Are you listening while stuck in traffic?
Only Green-ish & Bad for Working Moms?
On the CleanEdge.com U.S. Metro Clean Tech Index based on metrics such as hybrid electric vehicles, certified green buildings and clean-tech venture capital investments compiled by Clean Edge Inc., we're #10. But given how green we locals insist we are, hey people, it's time to walk it more than just talk it, OK eco-peeps?
One #11 ranking worth noting is that we hit it on the Most Patents Awarded in a Brookings Institute study. The number represents a leap of 41 slots since 2007, so hopefully this measurement will continue to trend onward and upward.
The Top 10 Report's "For Shame" scolding is for only coming in at #16 on Forbes's Best Cities For Working Mothers list. What's up with that, huh? Isn't this a city that loves and supports our modern moms?
...And Full o' Cheatin' Hearts
We did recently come close to one top rating: Austin is #2 on the AshleyMadison.com list of America's Least Faithful Cities, right behind Washington, DC, where cheating and screwing are usually just signs Congress is hard at work. Since the website for marrieds seeking outside flings likely didn't take into consideration the local popularity of polyamory and all the people in open relationships within Austin's substantial kink community, we might have been, uh, well, screwed out of a #1 on that count. But really, in the final analysis, are that many Austinites up to some lusty hanky-panky?
In honor of at least placing second on that metric and the local popularity of traditional country music, in which cheating songs are a high art, below is Austin retrogressive country hero Dale Watson with his popular tune "Cheating Heart Attack."
Keep your eyes on the Quick Hits column on our homepage – c'mon kids, it's high time ya bookmarked us, right? – for more Top 10 Reports on a regular basis.