San Antonio moves up in Brookings survey…

October 17, 2012

San Antonio’s economic recovery continued through the second quarter while much of the nation struggled, boosting the city’s ranking to 26th among the 100 largest cities evaluated by the Brookings Institution.

The think tank’s Metro Monitor report said housing price increases in the second quarter and strong growth in the mining sector, which includes oil and gas activity, fueled San Antonio’s jump in the quarterly ranking from 54th at the end of the first quarter to 26th at the end of June.

“In San Antonio’s case, it’s really been a steady, robust recovery,” said Alec Friedhoff, research analyst with the institution.

Nationally, most cities experienced less employment growth than they had in the first quarter, and housing prices hit new lows in 87 cities, analysts said.

“It’s a picture of a continued, drawn-out recovery that’s losing steam really,” said Friedhoff.

The study ranks cities in four categories: unemployment rates; housing prices; economic output, which is the value of the goods and services an area produces; and employment. Analysts measured changes in each category since the recovery began in that component in each city.

San Antonio ranked sixth nationally in home prices based on changes in the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index. That index jumped by 0.9 percent in San Antonio since hitting bottom in the first quarter of 2012. Nationally, the index fell by 1 percent during that period.

The city ranked 19th nationally in economic output with 9.4 percent growth, 29th in employment with 3.6 percent growth and 86th in joblessness with its unemployment rate falling by 0.9 percentage points since hitting bottom.

Friedhoff said the mining sector has emerged as a driver of the recovery in San Antonio. The output of that sector boomed by 23.8 percent between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter this year, the report said.

The study also demonstrates how steady the local economy is, which can hurt its ranking in assessments such as the Metro Monitor that value growth or improvement over other factors.

San Antonio historically has not experienced the dramatic highs or lows of other cities, which means it does not need to climb far out of recessionary periods to reach normal performance levels.For example, the decline in San Antonio’s unemployment rate was less than that of 83 other cities and the same as two. Those 83 cities received higher rankings in the unemployment category even though their unemployment rates might have been higher than San Antonio’s at the beginning of the recovery and in the second quarter.

Read More…