It’s no secret that the U.S. economy has taken a giant hit over the past year, and although many people are feeling the crunch in a variety of ways, there are actually some benefits for many industries and cities—San Antonio being one of them. While nationwide the numbers for certain economic indicators, such as job creation, are collapsing, San Antonio has actually managed to add a large number of jobs over the past year, and the year has started off well for the city’s business climate also.
6,000 jobs were created in the city in February alone, and last year San Antonio added just under 20,000 jobs to its market. In fact, Texas seems almost impervious to much of what is going on in the rest of the country. Unemployment is at a 30 year low at 4.1% , and the state added over a quarter of a million jobs in 2006.
San Antonio has been positioning itself as a travel and vacation destination over the past few years, and this effort seems to be paying off. Many of the new jobs are in the leisure and hospitality industry, one of the first that is usually hit by economic downturns—a good sign for the local economy. The city has seen the Final Four, NBA playoffs, in addition to the regular events and festivals, such as Fiesta, and construction is underway for the new Marriott resort and golf center, which will only add to the legitimacy of San Antonio as a world-class tourist destination.
Over at Fort Sam Houston and Brooke Army Medical Center a $2.3 billion dollar construction boon is beginning due to BRAC. It is estimated that the project will create an additional 10,000 to 12,000 new jobs both military and civilian. This will also bring an additional 5000 family members and will significantly increase demand for housing and schools. The 3-year construction project at BAMC will add over 6 million square feet of space. The entire project will likely be the biggest economic bonanza in San Antonio’s recent history.
The economic downturn, while bad for many domestic businesses, is a godsend for foreign countries wishing to invest in the US. Out of all the G7 countries, only Canada is the cheapest for doing business since the depreciation of the dollar. For cities with large international populations and businesses, the time has never been better to expand to America. Cities like San Antonio, who have large populations from South America, Central America, and Spain, among others, may see their economic situation actually benefit in the long run, as international businesses decide to take advantage of America’s problems and use their strong currencies to enter a market which was, until recently, not cost-effective.
While San Francisco remains the most expensive city in the US to do business, it has dropped below many of Europe’s major industrial centers, which means that many Europeans who feel that they are getting priced out at home, may be heading to America to look for bargains.