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(Article is from Austin Business Journal, copyright belongs to owner) Companies relocating to or expanding in the Austin metro pledged to create more than 20,000 jobs during the first nine months of 2021, nearly equaling the record number of jobs pledged last year.

Through September, more than 150 companies announced the addition of 20,840 jobs in the area, according to data from the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. That included more than 5,500 jobs from roughly 50 companies during June, July and August. The 20,840 announced jobs represented 94% of last year’s record of 22,114 jobs announced by companies relocating to or expanding in Austin.

Central Texas has been inundated over the past decade by companies and people flooding the region. They are attracted by a variety of factors, including the lack of state income tax and a generally business friendly environment. That’s created extensive economic growth but has also resulted in worsening affordability issues spurred by a lack of housing supply.

Of the companies that have pledged to add jobs in 2021, more than 70 did not have a prior presence in the Austin metro, according to the Chamber data. Those companies have pledged to add more than 7,700 jobs, largely buoyed by Tesla Inc., which is set to add 5,000 jobs at its $1.1 billion gigafactory in Austin later this year. And that number seems likely to climb, as CEO Elon Musk has said the factory will need more than 10,000 people by the end of 2022.

Nearly 30 companies from California have announced moves into the Austin metro in 2021.

Over the last three months, companies relocating or expanding in the region have promised big job growth in the Austin suburbs, where there is more land available and it is generally cheaper — and local governments are more likely to provide subsidies. That tally included Moca Financial Inc. in Bastrop (400 jobs announced), Cangshan Cutlery Co. in Leander (150), Cooperative Laundry Inc. in San Marcos (150), Ovivo Inc. in Hutto (120), and Perfect Game Inc. in Cedar Park (127), according to the data.

Meanwhile, companies hiring in Austin itself include QuotaPath Inc., Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Amazon Inc., REE Automotive Ltd. and GetSales Inc., according to the chamber.

The 2021 jobs numbers could get a big boost from numerous large projects being considered in the area. At the top of the list is Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which is nearing a decision about where to place a $17 billion chipmaking plant, possibly in Taylor or Austin. The factory is expected to create at least 1,800 direct jobs, plus thousands more indirect jobs. Meanwhile, Musk recently announced that Tesla is moving its headquarters to Austin, but did not share many details, including whether it will be located at the gigafactory site and whether it will result in additional jobs.

Dozens of mysterious projects are also listed on executive session agendas for government bodies in cities and counties all over the metro, likely more companies eying incentives deals to set up shop or expand in the area.

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