Hutto looking to increase number of well-paying jobs closer to home

Hutto business leaders say results of a new study could help attract more high-end jobs to the city and potentially help lower property taxes, boost retail sales and create more local jobs.

The report aims to show which industries will succeed locally and where organizations such as the Hutto Economic Development Corp. should concentrate their recruiting efforts.

The Hutto EDC commissioned Austin-based Avalanche Consulting to evaluate Hutto’s demographics, resources and assets. The firm shared the results with stakeholders April 9.

The Target Industry Analysis showed Hutto is suited to support transportation, manufacturing and professional services businesses, Avalanche Research Director John Rees said.

The analysis outlined several of Hutto’s assets—a young, skilled workforce; proximity to major highways; and quality of life—and also considered which industries are expected to grow nationally, Rees said.

Hutto EDC Interim President Erin Klingemann said the Hutto EDC will be able to use the analysis to draw new businesses.

“It’s definitely something we can use as a marketing piece to attract these industries,” Klingemann said. “With this report we can show that Hutto and the surrounding area can support these industries. Now that we have all the information, we can hone in on attending specific trade shows.”

Hutto has plenty of skilled workers but a low number of high-skill, high-wage jobs—which means about 98 percent of Hutto residents are finding jobs outside the city, and there are fewer businesses contributing taxes, Rees said.

“Given the imbalance between people and jobs, a disproportionate amount of the tax burden is on homeowners,” Rees said. “To me the most important thing is that the Hutto EDC and [other business leaders] make it clear that there are a lot of those skilled workers in Hutto.”

Bringing more manufacturing, transportation and professional jobs to Hutto would not only broaden the tax base but would also benefit retailers by providing daytime customers, Klingemann said.

Matthew Dobias, co-owner of A.R. Machining Inc. in Hutto, confirmed that Hutto is an optimal location for manufacturing companies.

“We’re three hours in any direction from any of our customers,” Dobias said. “Being just north of Austin puts us smack dab in the middle of manufacturing country, and it doesn’t hurt that the toll roads are right here.”