A report from the Austin Chamber of Commerce shows that Austin and San Jose, California, were the only two major metropolitan areas in the U.S. to see positive gross domestic product, or GDP, growth in 2020.
The data indicates that despite COVID-19 hitting the U.S. in early 2020 and Austin entering a series of lockdowns and strict safety measures, the economy as a whole not only remained strong, but grew.
The report is based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and shows Austin made a 1.2% gain in its real GDP—meaning it has been adjusted for inflation—making it the second best performing economy within the largest 50 metros in the U.S.
Austin ranked first in Texas; San Antonio’s rate fell by 1.7%; Dallas-Fort Worth fell 2.2%; and Houston fell by 3%, according to the data.
When that number is adjusted for population, Austin’s per capita real GDP is up 8.7% from 2015 to 2020, making it the fifth best performing large metro in the country and the first in Texas, per the data.
Austin’s GDP also experienced the most growth, 24.1%, between 2015 and 2020 in Texas compared to 8.4% in San Antonio, -0.1% in Houston and 13% in Dallas. Nationally, only San Jose, Seattle and San Francisco saw more growth than Austin, according to the data.
Austin’s economy in 2020 was the 24th largest in the US based on dollar value, or 29th when population size is accounted for, according to the data.
The report shows Austin struggled in some areas. The leisure and hospitality, transportation and utilities, and education and health services industries account for a small portion of the GDP—3%, 2% and 6% respectively—but contracted by 25.7%, 23% and 6.3% during 2020.
Other data from the Texas Workforce Commission, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and additional organizations show that despite early dips in employment numbers, pedestrian traffic and other economic measures, the Austin economy remained strong in 2020.