San Antonio Is Soaring Toward Full Recovery in 2022

September 13, 2021
Author: ThinkWhy Analyst

Located on the edge of South and Central Texas and just 80 miles south of Austin, San Antonio anchors the southwestern corner of the Texas Triangle that includes Houston near the Gulf coast and Dallas in the north. The San Antonio metro, home to 3.27 million people, currently ranks 31 in the LaborIQ® Index of the largest 150 U.S. metros due to its job growth, net migration and GDP growth.

The labor market in the San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX metro is expected to fully recover in 2022.

The industries providing the largest employment in San Antonio are:

  1. Trade, Transportation and Utilities
  2. Government and Public Administration
  3. Education and Health Services
  4. Professional and Business Services
  5. Leisure and Hospitality

The diverse economy includes a large military presence, financial services, tourism, oil and gas, automobile manufacturing, technology and higher education.

The San Antonio metro area is experiencing a strong recovery following 44,000 jobs lost during the pandemic, and its unemployment rate has dropped to 5.4% from a pandemic high of 11.6%. During the pandemic, San Antonio’s robust Professional and Business Services industry gained rather than lost jobs, and its Financial, Government and Public Administration and Manufacturing industries shrank by less than 2%.

In July 2021, the largest year-over-year sources of job gains were in Leisure and Hospitality with 23,600 jobs; Professional and Business Services with 17,600 jobs; and Trade, Transportation and Utilities with 8,200 jobs. These employment figures are not seasonally adjusted.

San Antonio Job Growth By Industry - LaborIQ 09132021

The Oil and Gas industry was particularly hard hit in Texas, the largest crude-oil producing state in the U.S. This held true in San Antonio, which experienced a 40% drop in its Oil and Gas employment in 2020 due to the pandemic and the industry contraction that started in 2019. Although some jobs will return, this industry has withered to among the smallest employment sources in the metro and is not expected to fully recover its 2019 employment.

Why It Matters

San Antonio is one of the largest metro areas in the U.S., coming in at number 21. The growing population in the city and its suburbs, including New Braunfels, combined with similar growth in nearby Austin and its suburbs means these two population centers are headed towards merging into a single labor market similar to Dallas-Fort Worth in the near future. Much of the area’s recent growth is from higher-paying industries such as technology and cybersecurity. With 40% of the area population age 24 years and younger, San Antonio will continue to have a long-term working-age labor supply. Although rents and home prices are rising, the area remains the most affordable major housing market in Texas. In addition to forecasted continued market growth, this affordability and the metro’s moderate wage growth make San Antonio an attractive location for employers and employees.


San Antonio Labor Market Outlook

LaborIQ® by ThinkWhy forecasts that the San Antonio labor market, growing across all industries at 2.9% this year, will gain jobs beyond full recovery in 2022, somewhat ahead of the forecasted overall U.S. recovery. This growth will continue for the next few years. Professional and Business Services has already exceeded its 2019 employment level. Industries seeing full pandemic job recovery in 2021 will include Financial, Government and Public Administration and Manufacturing. In 2022, Construction will fully recover. Information and Leisure and Hospitality are not predicted to reach their 2019 employment levels until 2025, while Mining and Logging (Oil and Gas) which is the smallest industry in terms of the labor force, is not expected to fully recover.

LaborIQ by ThinkWhy continuously forecasts and reports labor data at all levels, measuring impact to cities, industries, occupations and business across the U.S.