Buy WILLisms

XML Feed
rss-icon.gif Feedburner RSS
WILLisms.com on Twitter

Featured Entries

The Babe Theory Of Political Movements.
Mar. 21, 2005 11:50 AM

Iran's Sham Election In Houston.
June 20, 2005 5:36 AM

Yes, Kanye, Bush Does Care.
Oct. 31, 2005 12:41 AM

Health Care vs. Wealth Care.
Nov. 23, 2005 3:28 PM

Americans Voting With Their Feet.
Nov. 30, 2005 1:33 PM

Idea Majorities Do Matter.
May 12, 2006 6:15 PM

Twilight Zone Economics.
Oct. 17, 2006 12:30 AM

The "Shrinking" Middle Class.
Dec. 13, 2006 1:01 PM

From Ashes, GOP Opportunities.
Dec. 18, 2006 6:37 PM

Battle Between Entitlements & Pork.
Dec. 21, 2006 12:31 PM

Let Economic Freedom Reign.
Dec. 22, 2006 10:22 PM

Biggest Health Care Moment In Decades.
July 25, 2007 4:32 PM

Unions Antithetical to Liberty.
May 28, 2008 11:12 PM

Right To Work States Rock.
June 9, 2008 12:25 PM



Ace of Spades
Protein Wisdom
Urban Grounds



May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
December 2011
November 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004

Social Security Reform Thursday.
January 29, 2008

Caption Contest Archive
Jan. 21, 2009

The Carnival Of Classiness.
Mar. 14, 2006

Quotational Therapy: Obama.
Apr. 4, 2008

Mainstream Melee: Wolfowitz.
May 19, 2007

Pundit Roundtable: Leaks.
July 9, 2006

A WILLisms.com(ic), by Ken McCracken
July 14, 2006


Powered by Movable Type 3.17
Site Design by Sekimori

WILLisms.com January 2009 Book of the Month (certified classy):

The WILLisms.com Gift Shop: Support This Site


This Week's Carnival of Revolutions: carnivalbutton.gif

Carnival Home Base: homebase.gif

Site Meter


« Dr. Steven Hotze's New Lawsuit Against Obamacare. | WILLisms.com | Voting With Their Feet: Texas Cities Lead Nation In Population Growth. »

Scranton Versus Austin.

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 971 -- Jobs, GDP, Housing-

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the final episode of The Office yet but plan on watching it at some point down the road, consider yourself warned. This post contains spoilers.

NBC's last remaining hit show, The Office, aired its final episode last night. SPOILER ALERT

The premise of the episode is that one year has passed, and the gang is all getting back together in Scranton for a retrospective panel about the PBS documentary they've been living for the past several years. Jim's start-up sports agency company, Athlead, renamed Athleap, has moved to Austin. Darryl, who once worked in the Dunder-Mifflin warehouse, followed Jim to Athlead, but Jim decided to quit the start-up and stay in Scranton with his wife Pam. Darryl stayed with Athlead (again, now Athleap). That may or may not make sense, depending on whether you've seen the show.

At any rate, the gang comes back to Scranton, and Darryl, fresh off the plane from Austin and wearing a suit, jumps in a limo. He's clearly doing well. Banter ensues when the gang reunites.

“The city is amazing,” Darryl says of Austin. “It’s hot, the music is awesome and the tacos are for real.”

“Wow, that sounds incredible,” Jim says wistfully.

There's more talk of Austin throughout the episode, and it even becomes a plot line, as Pam secretly allows a real estate agent to show their home so they can both quit Dunder-Mifflin and move to Texas.

“I never want you to give up anything,” Pam says after he learns she’s sold their house so they can fully uproot and move to Austin so Jim can run the company again with Darryl.

So, how does Dwight, who, as we learn throughout the episode has grown quite fond of Jim, react when the couple announces their exit and suggests he visit them in Austin?

“For what?” he sniffs. “The art? The music? The incredible nightlife? No, thank you.”

So, yeah. The writers apparently really, really like Austin.

One quibble I'd have with the Austin-centric theme is that Darryl would not have on the big, wool suit he was wearing when he gets off the plane from Austin. Austin is way too laid back for that, once you leave the two or three blocks that surround the Capitol. And, I actually sat next to a real sports agent during the first (technically, second) round of March Madness in Austin, and he said he would love to live in Austin, and the UT-Austin talent pipeline for pro sports is great, but ultimately, agents and big agencies almost have to be located either in cities in the top 5 in population or with the top-10 largest airports. Austin is now bigger than San Francisco, yes, but it's still only the 13th or 14th largest metro in the country. And Austin's airport may be pleasant and easy to navigate, with decent food and live music, but you typically have to connect through Houston, Dallas, or elsewhere, depending on where you want to go. Austin's airport is definitely nowhere near the top 10.

Not to throw cold water on the Austin meme. It's where I live. I love the city and welcome the growth. I'm just saying, I had some quibbles.

That being said, I wanted to compare Scranton versus Austin. Why did the writers choose Austin for the promised land?

How about the economy as a whole?

First, let's look at GDP growth from 2001 to 2011 (the most recent year for which standardized metro data is available):

click image for larger version

Austin added two entire 2011 Scrantons worth of GDP to its economy over the decade (or, nearly three 2001 Scrantons).

Austin started bigger, of course. But its economy also grew more than twice as fast, 75% to 34%. Pretty incredible disparity.

And what about jobs?

The Office debuted in March of 2005, so let's use that date as a starting point.

As of March 2013 (the most recent data we have), Scranton has 2,296 fewer jobs than it had in March of 2005. That's a decline of 0.89%. [Data here.]

Austin, meanwhile, added 175,670 jobs from March 2005 to March 2013. 23.24% more than when it started. [Data here.]

NOTE: The two graphs in the graphic directly below have different scales. Putting both on the same graph yields two mostly-flat lines across because the numbers are so far apart.

click image for larger version

No, really. I had to triple-check the disparity, because it was eye-popping to me.

Here's another version:

click image for larger version

Scranton barely registers, and unfortunately, it registers negatively. Austin, meanwhile, has boomed.

And housing?
From December 2007 to December 2012, Austin's housing prices went up 4.7%. In Scranton, they went down 4.0%. Bummer for Jim and Pam, selling their home in that market. Incidentally, when a couple looking at the home says they want to buy their house, Pam almost seems surprised. I can tell you that right now, not a soul in Austin would be surprised to get an offer on his home. The market is hot. Houses sell quickly, sometimes before they even officially go on the market. Pam's sort of disbelieving reaction to someone wanting to buy their house is one part of the finale that I felt like was rooted in actual data.

So on GDP, jobs, and housing, you can see why Austin was the mecca for folks looking to flee stagnant jobs in the paper industry in Scranton. And editorially, let me just say that The Office got pretty bad in the past couple of seasons, and it felt like a chore watching it ("We have to finish what we started!") since roughly 2010 or so, but the series finale was excellent. I wish all TV shows could wrap things up so nicely.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Air Traffic Control Sham.

rss-icon.gif twitter-icon.gif facebook-icon.gif

Posted by Will Franklin · 17 May 2013 05:34 PM