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Samsung, Tesla drive record job growth in Central Texas for 2021
(Stuart Seeger/CC)

The previous job growth record—22,114 jobs in 2020—is set to be surpassed this year. (Stuart Seeger/CC)

Company relocations and expansions are driving record levels of job creation in Central Texas.

Data compiled by Opportunity Austin, the economic development arm of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, shows companies have promised to bring roughly 23,150 jobs across the metro, beating out the previous record of 22,114 jobs for all of 2020.

A major job propeller came at the end of November with the announcement that Taylor will be the site of a new Samsung chip-making facility, serving as the largest ever foreign direct investment in the state. Winning the plant through incentive programs and talent pool, Samsung expects to bring 2,000 high-tech jobs, thousands of indirect jobs, and at least 6,500 construction jobs.

Plus, there’s likely more to come. Last week, Tesla officially moved its headquarters from Silicon Valley to the under-construction Gigafactory in southeast Travis County. Specifics of the job impact are unclear still, but it’s speculated that up to half of the Palo Alto employees will opt for a move to Austin.

The under-construction Austin Gigafactory will not be the home of the new Tesla headquarters. (Tesla Owners of Austin)

Through November, 126 companies in Central Texas have chosen to expand, and 86 relocated. Still, December could see additional expansions and relocations.

The Austin Chamber of Commerce reports that the capital city is the second-best major job market in the U.S. In August, Austin surpassed the jobs total it had in the last pre-pandemic month, which was 1,142,400 jobs in February 2020. Then in October added 18,300 jobs, the largest monthly gain since June 2020.

This growth was seen across a number of industries, including leisure and hospitality, wholesale trade and financial activities. Pandemic recovery is positive news for many, yet still draws some tension with recent job growth bringing transplants and increasing housing costs. Worries over Austin’s affordability crisis carry on, especially with the prediction that by the end of this year, Austin’s cost of living is expected to be the highest outside of California.

Laura Huffman, President and CEO of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, told the Austin Business Journal that she’s thrilled 2021 is shaping out to be a record-breaking year.

“We’re bringing dynamic, globally significant companies to the region, and what that means for the people that are living in the region is more opportunities,” Huffman said.


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(Eric Lee/The Texas Tribune)

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