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How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Austin's economy after a year

UT takes a look at a variety of data about the impact of the pandemic to shed new light on changes in Austin's economy over the past 12 months.

AUSTIN, Texas — There is no question the pandemic has changed the way we live. But beyond the masks, the vaccines and the toll that COVID-19 has taken on human life and health, the virus has also changed our local economy.

Researchers at the University of Texas Cockrell Engineering School explored the impact the virus has had on our community by looking at a variety of public data sources. Taken together, the information paints a fascinating picture of how the coronavirus has affected our city.  

Among the findings:

  • Small businesses in Austin continue to be hit hard. Revenue is down 37% from pre-pandemic days.
  • The number of local small businesses currently open is down about 30% compared to 2019.
  • Looking at job data, there are more job openings than before the pandemic, but they’re way down in the local food services, entertainment and tourism industries. 
  • Public transportation in Austin has taken a major hit. Ridership numbers were up just before the pandemic, but they've dropped by an average of 47% since 2019. 
  • However, the pandemic has not changed Austin’s real estate industry. Though home sales dropped off in March and April last year, now, home prices are up 17% compared to 2019 and sales are up 40%.

Many changes have been brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, but no change when it comes to Austin having one of the hottest real estate markets in the country.


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