Moody’s: Austin is No. 1 for Amazon’s HQ2

October 24, 2017 by Kate Harrington

With Amazon’s announcement that it will be selecting a U.S. city for its HQ2, speculation about which city is widespread. But when Moody’s Analytics made the case that Austin is the No. 1 metro area most likely to land the massive project, ears perked up.

Moody’s Analytics, a well-regarded source of research in the business world, released the study on Oct. 12, along with commentary that gave more detail on each of the top 10 metro areas’ strengths and setbacks.

Working in Austin’s favor, according to Moody’s, is the fact that it’s already a “well-known IT hub that is home to Dell, the largest Samsung facility outside of S. Korea, the second-biggest Apple facility, and a large IBM campus.”

Downtown Austin

“The labor force is exceptionally well educated, with 43% having completed college or graduate training, compared with about 30% nationally,” the commentary goes on to say. “This reflects the substantial and ongoing in-migration of IT professionals that has led to population growth typically three to four times the national rate for decades running. It also reflects the strength of the University of Texas Computer Science Department, a key source of well-trained new labor market entrants and cutting-edge research.”

Amazon, too, has an established Austin presence already: close to 1,000 employees in office space in the Domain, a warehouse in San Marcos with about 3,000 employees, and the recently-acquired Whole Foods Market Inc.

The Moody’s study used metrics that included business environment, human capital, cost, quality of life and transportation.

Amazon’s planned HQ2 will bring up to 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion facility to whichever city it chooses. Cities were asked to submit bids by Oct. 19, and an announcement is expected in 2018.

BuildingATX will continue to bring you updates on this exciting story as they become available.

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Written by Kate Harrington

Kate is a former reporter, most recently for the Austin Business Journal, where she covered real estate, economic development and transportation. Since 2010 she has been running Thumbtack Communications. Thumbtack provides writing, editing and marketing services. Before moving to Austin in 2002 Kate lived in her native New England, which she still visits often to escape the Texas heat.