Bexar County is part of the San Antonio-New Braunfels metro area. This county is among the few South Texas counties that have sustained lower unemployment and higher job growth than the Texas statewide averages. Since 2011, its unemployment rate has trended down along with the Texas unemployment rate.
In 2016, its job market remained solid. Despite a statewide slowdown, this area's monthly unemployment rates were below 4.5 percent, and its job growth averaged at 2 percent. Gauged by local sales tax collections, the area's overall business conditions have remained strong.
As a result of strong economic performance, home construction activity has stayed on a steady uptrend since 2011. Yet the number of new homes constructed in 2016 was still less than half of the number during the peak of the last home construction boom in 2005-2006. Despite much slower construction activity, home prices have continued to appreciate in the past decade. By the end of 2016, the average home price was around $230,000, compared with $150,000 in 2006.
Compared with other communities in South Texas, Bexar County as part of San Antonio has a much more diversified economy. The largest sector is still the government, but its employment size is followed closely by health care, retail trade, and accommodation and food services.
Unlike the rest of the South Texas region, the mining sector accounts for 0.4 percent of this county's total workforce. Still recent expansion of oil and gas extraction has boosted the number of jobs in this sector since 2005.
This area has a relatively large finance and insurance sector. This sector employs close to 7 percent of the county's total workforce, or 1.7 times the national average. Other than finance and insurance, industries that have grown more rapidly in Bexar County than elsewhere include health care, retail trade, and accommodation and food services.
The average annual earnings for employees in Bexar County were the highest among all counties in South Texas. Still, that level of average earnings in 2016, around $55,000, was 10 percent below the statewide average. This income gap is associated with its workforce's relatively lower educational attainment. About 25 percent of the adult population in the region holds a Bachelor's degree or higher, compared to nearly 30 percent nationwide.
Along with strong employment growth in recent years, Bexar County's population has continued to expand at a steady pace due in part to migration of people from outside the area. Business formation has also been solid. The number of business establishments per 1,000 residents rose steadily over the years since 2011, reaching a record high of 20.2 in 2015.