Old West charm and a New World economy pair up in San Antonio to produce one of the most attractive job markets in the country.
In May, Forbes magazine placed San Antonio eighth among the 200 best places to do business, based on technology company revenues, salary increases and job growth between 1993 and 1999. Bolstering this ranking has been the city’s economic growth spurt over the past several years, particularly in such industries as:
- Transportation equipment
- Metal fabricating
- Business services
- Communication services
A Charmed Economy
But first, consider San Antonio’s charms. Easily navigated by streetcar, bus or horse-drawn carriage, the city is dotted with historical districts, from the elegant 1800s-era homes of the King William District, to the galleries, shops and artisan studios of LaVillita. Market Square, two blocks of shops and restaurants, is rich in Hispanic culture. The San Antonio River weaves its way through the heart of the city, and along its banks runs the famous 2.5-mile, cobblestone Riverwalk trail, also called Paseo del Rio.
Equally appealing are the economic prospects for Texas’ third largest city:
- Kelly Air Force Base: The base has undergone commercial redevelopment and is already home to:
- Pratt and Whitney
- General Electric
- Lockheed Martin
- Computer securities industry: In June, the Wall Street Journal reported this industry is growing, as represented by the presence of such companies as:
- Digital Defense, Inc.
- Sevis Systems, Inc.
- High-tech community outside of security field: This community is growing, with companies like:
- billserv.com and its sister company, bills.com
- ILEX Oncology
According to a recent Express-News report, the city is poised for an influx of Internet startups and publicly traded dot-coms, all of which will create a need for high-tech managers.
San Antonio’s Major Industries (first quarter 1999 averages)
Industry – Number of Firms – Number of Employees
Services – 11,875 – 200,952
Retail Trade – 4,706 – 136,505
Manufacturing – 1,349 – 54,539
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate – 2,544 – 46,270
Construction – 2,785 – 36,362
Transportation, Utilities – 1,101 – 32,252
Wholesale Trade – 2,164 – 30,345
Source: Texas Workforce Commission
The year 2000 has already produced economic headlines regarding the San Antonio area:
- Financial services giant Chase Manhattan plans to open a customer service operation that will spell jobs for up to 850 people (as reported by the San Antonio Express-News).
- In April, Qwest Communications announced expansion plans that include hiring up to 1,000 additional workers.
- Swiss manufacturer Mikron Technology Holdings plans a $15 million cellular phone production plant that will employ 400.
Wages for 1998 in the Alamo (San Antonio) Workplace Development Area
Occupation – Hourly Wage
Accountants, auditors – $17.80
Civil engineers – $24.29
Computer programmers – $23.37
Electronic pagination system operators – $12.87
Financial managers – $26.79
Lawyers – $36.93
Paralegal personnel – $16.13
Pharmacists – $28.54
Physical therapists – $28.14
Registered nurses – $18.73
Sales agents, securities, commodities, financial personnel – $21.48
Systems analysts, electronic data processing personnel – $25.90
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Southwest Charm at a Discount Price
If San Antonio’s job scene is attractive, so is the prospect of buying a house in the city. The average cost of a single-family home in 1999 was $114,769. In fact, the influx of some 1,100 new management-level employees at SBC Communications detonated a homebuilding boom.
But a hiring spurt is not the only thing drawing professionals to San Antonio these days. In addition to a solid employment picture, job seekers will experience Southwestern elegance and scarlet sunsets over the San Antonio River.