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Role Model: Austin Economy Thriving

Updated: Wednesday, July 9 2014, 10:38 PM CDT
Thursday President Obama will highlight the actions his Administration has taken to benefit hardworking Americans. The White House says it will be about everything from helping to create new manufacturing jobs, to expanding apprenticeships and job training, and the economy.

When it comes to the economy KEYETV wanted to know what makes Austin and the state a role model.

"Small business is really the heart and soul of the city and that includes the music businesses, the cultural businesses, and all the creative enterprises,” said City of Austin Economic Development Department Director Kevin Johns.

Big things are on tap for Wright Bros. Brew and Brew.

"It was a kind of coffee shop and bar that we wanted to exist that we didn't see yet,” said Co-Founder Matt Wright.

The Austin business opened its doors in 2013 generating twelve new jobs made up of full and part time employees.

It’s a staff that's slowly been pouring its way into the city's heart and economy.

"Its been really awesome to see our team come together, and know that they have jobs that they enjoy and that can actually make a living doing it,” said Wright.

A business model that fits right in with what the city is targeting.

"Our focus is on small businesses, growing the tech industry naturally and organically,” said Johns.

The city's economic development team believes a blend of public and private partnerships has helped pave the way for a balanced and diversified economy.

One where the boom of major tech firms has also helped strengthen the mom and pops.

"Those companies however really are anchoring whole cluster industries, so if think that's really our focus to grow organically,” said Johns.

"It’s not just Austin seeing the benefits. Texas seems to be a place with ongoing success.

"The most important thing is people want to be here,” said University of Texas at Austin Economics Professor Daniel Hamermesh.

Hamermesh says the state’s unemployment rate is below the national average, it didn’t face the housing bust, and job growth has been huge in the past six years.

"I think it’s a conjunction of various factors having to do with the structure of the economy, the oil business doing well and the diversity the diversification of the Texas economy,” said Hamermesh.

He says in Austin the people coming in tend to be young and highly skilled.

People like the Matt Wright, who for the moment is watching a dream become a reality.

"I just hope that we can all keep working together, and with the city as well to keep costs down and make things easy for folks to get their dreams off the ground,” said Wright.

Economists believe Texas will continue to thrive.

Partly because it’s growing much more rapidly than the rest of the economy and we have the wherewithal to continue that growth.

By Adam Racusin
Role Model: Austin Economy Thriving

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