When Toyota Motor Corp. opened its new Tundra plant and supplier park in San Antonio late last year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry touted the development as "the shot in the arm" that the state needed to transform its economy. Indeed, the industrial park combined with the new Tundra plant has created approximately 4,000 jobs for the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The new jobs coincide with a manufacturing-employment-growth trend in San Antonio, where the manufacturing workforce has increased 8.13% from February 2005 through February 2007, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. In addition to Toyota, the aviation industry also thrives in San Antonio with such employers as Boeing, Sino Swearingen Aircraft, Pratt & Whitney, General Electric and Standard Aero operating out of the Port of San Antonio.
The recent growth has been attributed to low operating and living costs and proximity to other thriving markets, according to Mario Hernandez, president of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation. Utility costs are lower than many other major cities and the city ranked among the lowest in housing prices in a December 2005 Fortune magazine article, Hernandez notes. San Antonio also is near markets to the south -- Monterrey, Mexico City and Central and South America -- and is close to the deepwater ports of Houston and Corpus Christi.