Austin, Texas Leads the Nation in Job Growth

Roadhouse Relics - Greetings From Austin Postcard
The Brookings Institution just looked at how well cities had emerged from the recession. The rankings are based largely on job creating and housing.

Five of the top 10 are in Texas, with the state capital Austin leading the list. CBS News senior business correspondent Anthony Mason reports.

Every time the Austin, Texas company "Bazaarvoice" adds a new employee they bang a gong.

The gong rang 240 times last year at Bazaarvoice. The 5-year-old company hosts and analyzes website customer feedback for clients like Best Buy and Macy's.

Kelly Grey was the latest hire this week, after moving to Austin from Connecticut with her husband and two kids.

"The economy is doing better here," Grey said. It took Grey just a month to find a job as a client manager.

According to a recent survey, Austin weathered the recession better than any other place in the country, and now leads the nation in job growth.

Welcome to Jobstown, USA

Projects like Samsung's $3 billion expansion of its Austin plant have added hundreds of jobs. Austin's unemployment rate (7.1 percent) is more than two full points below the rest of the country.

Bazaarvoice CEO Brett Hurt thinks Austin's doing something different.

"There's an amazing creative energy here," said Hurt.

Thousands of talented graduates pour out of the University of Texasevery year. The state has no income tax, and Austin has low taxes and house prices and a rich cultural scene.

Dave Porter's job at the Chamber of Commerce is to entice companies from more expensive states like California.

"We are very aggressively recruiting," he said. California has a "bulls eye right on it."

California-based SunPower is not leaving the state, but the solar company is opening an operations center in Austin after the city offered up to $900,000 in hiring incentives. SunPower plans 450 hires.

About 80 percent of jobs created in Austin come from local companies. At the Austin Technology Incubatorat the University of Texas, Isaac Barchas gives very young companies office space and helps them find funding.

For Austin, nurturing new companies is paying off in jobs.

"It's really like taking shots on goal," Barchas said. "You want to have as many shots as you can, because you never know which ones going to put the ball in the back of the net.

"When you score the benefit is huge," Mason said.

"When you score the benefit can be another Dell or another Google or another Intel."

Austin's entrepreneurs say there's no secret to their success. It's just an entire community committed to job creation.

  • Anthony Mason
    Anthony Mason

    CBS News senior business and economics correspondent; Co-host, "CBS This Morning: Saturday"