Study shows university contributes to job growth

News Reporter

San Marcos is a part of a metropolitan area that is seeing significant job growth due to the presence of the university, according to a recent report by the Milken Institute.

Milken, a nonprofit economic research company, ranked the San Marcos-Austin-Round Rock area number one in its annual “Best-Performing Cities 2013” report.

Each year, Milken studies metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) around the country and ranks the cities based on job development. The institute looks at components such as growth in jobs, wages and salary and high-tech gross domestic product to determine which areas are the highest performing.

Employment growth weighs the most in the ranking process because it signals the quality of the jobs being created and retained, said Minoli Ratnatunga, economist and coauthor of the report.

The presence of large universities in metros creates a demand for high-quality jobs, which improve a region’s overall wage structure, Ratnatunga said.

“Looking at the results of our analysis, you certainly do see a lot of cities with major universities in the top 25 of the big cities and in several of the small cities that performed very well,” Ratnatunga said.

Cities that have an educated workforce tend have high job growth, Ratnatunga said

“There’s a benefit to training your workforce for future economic growth,” Ratnatunga said. “There’s also the sort of spinout effects that universities can foster through tech transfer and partnerships with private institutions.”

According to the report, research within a university can aid in recruiting firms outside of the region to the area.

“Right now, our economic incentives are based off larger corporations,” said Councilwoman Lisa Prewitt, Place 1.