Austin is once again the top-rated market in the On Numbers Economic Index.
Texas’ capital region is No. 1 in May’s index, marking its fourth straight month atop the standings.
The On Numbers Economic Index measures the relative vitality of 102 major markets with populations of more than 500,000.
Austin has occupied first place for five of the past six months. The only exception was January, when Oklahoma City briefly slipped into the top spot.
Several factors have helped Austin retain its stranglehold on the national lead. Among them:
Strong job growth. The number of private-sector jobs in the Austin area has ballooned by 11.0 percent since 2008. No other market has grown faster than 7.3 percent.
Low unemployment. Only 12 major markets have jobless rates below 5.5 percent. Austin is at 5.3 percent.
Healthy paychecks. Weekly earnings for private-sector workers have grown 7.6 percent in Austin during the past 12 months. That’s the ninth-largest increase among the 102 markets.
Retail strength. Employment in Austin’s retail sector has grown by 8.2 percent in five years. Only Little Rock, Ark. (up 10.7 percent) has done better.
Stable home values. The typical home has declined in value since 2008 in 92 of the 102 markets. Among the exceptions is Austin (up 4.7 percent).
Bridgeport-Stamford, Conn., is mired in last place in this month’s standings. It has lost 3.7 percent of its private-sector job base in the past five years, its weekly earnings have slipped 14.3 percent during the same span, and its home values have plummeted 17.6 percent since 2008.
Also in the bottom five are New Haven, Conn.; Albuquerque; Chicago and Greensboro, N.C.
The On Numbers Economic Index was launched last August. Click here to see the national leaders in the previous nine months.