We’re Just Made That Way
by Jenna Saucedo-Herrera
The San Antonio economy has been rocked to its foundation by COVID-19, but it can’t break us. San Antonians are still husting to recover and reemerge greater than before. SAEDF had ambitious plans to carry the momentum of 2019 into our strongest year of job and wage growth ever. The rest is a history we’re still living through now. That said, San Antonio is made for recovery. We come from generations of hard-working, big thinking, compassionate and collaborative people, and have strategically invested in diverse industries and sustainable infrastructure that make us resilient.
When the financial crisis decimated the national economy in 2008, San Antonio was among the fastest cities to recover due, in large part, to our diverse portfolio of businesses and military assets. San Antonio was touted nationally as “recession-proof.” The pandemic’s effects are unprecedented and still not fully realized. Our focus on building strong clusters around cyber, tech, manufacturing, bioscience, and financial services continue to pay dividends in our current environment. San Antonio peaked at 13.2% unemployment in April and we’ve since maintained a steady decline as business reopen and we partner to connect San Antonians to the skills training necessary for careers in target industries. These efforts both put people back to work and also provide the opportunity for greater economic mobility. With the right workforce development strategy in place to educate and empower San Antonians to fill open target industry occupations, we are well-positioned to recover and accelerate corporate recruitment.
Site selectors surveyed nationally estimate 70% of projects that have been on hold due to the pandemic will soon become active. Another indicator of San Antonio’s resilience: SAEDF continued to activate projects in the early months of the pandemic, even as we primarily focused on local business rescue. We’ve since reactivated our proactive business outreach and have more than 50 active projects with over 9,000 potential new jobs in our pipeline, 65% of those projects were activated after March.
Emerging trends point to San Antonio’s future success as it’s estimated that manufacturing, logistics, cyber, and tech will recover faster than other more heavily impacted industries. Efforts to reduce global supply chain disruptions will bring ample opportunity to San Antonio. We have experience with onshoring and reshoring that prove our value to corporations. San Antonio successfully supported Toyota in building its South Central Texas supply chain that supports 7,000 jobs and builds more than 200,000 trucks annually.
As companies continue to support employees working remotely, cybersecurity threats and technology demands are spurring growth in these areas. With the largest concentration of cyber professionals outside of the D.C. area, San Antonio is not only equipped to support today’s growing technology needs, but our top tier education programs can sustain this growth as we look ahead to evolving work environments moving forward.
Several experts speculate regarding the future state of the American office. Early indicators from companies like Pinterest show that massive corporate campuses in crowded markets may spread out, split up, and look for elbow room in the future. Companies are seeking markets for satellite or regional corporate operations where buying power stretches and where the talent can enjoy the wealth they build.
Regardless of what the future holds, San Antonio is ready. We are resilient and prepared so that even when we have to play defense, we can win. We’re just made that way.