Cranes punctuate Austin’s skyline. Startups skip Boston for Denver’s downtown, where silver boom- era warehouses are transformed into offices. In San Francisco, technology engineers revive long-blighted Market Street.

Cities in the West and Southwest are experiencing economic growth exceeding records set before the financial crisis, with young, educated workers creating housing shortages and traffic jams as they drive up wages.

“The decline in manufacturing in the East, combined with an increase in service and technology jobs, is moving the country’s economic gravity westward,” said Kenan Fikri, a researcher at Washington’s Brookings Institution. “Compared to eastern cities, those in the West don’t have the economic baggage that comes from an industrial legacy.”

The center of U.S. population is moving steadily — it’s now in Texas County, Missouri, farthest west since the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking it in 1790. The movement is accelerating as workers from 25 to 34 move that way in disproportionate numbers.

Corporations are migrating, too. In the past two decades, the number of Fortune 400 companies based in Texas grew to 50 from 15. During the same period, New York lost 50.

Nine of the 10 large metropolitan areas with the highest rates of gross domestic product growth since 2008 are in the West or Southwest, led by Portland, Oregon, at 22.8 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. New York saw GDP growth of only 6.3 percent.

The region’s ascendancy began in the 1990s as industries such as aerospace and automotive manufacturing, computer system and software design and energy extraction multiplied, Fikri said. Trend-setters such as Apple Inc. and Google Inc. created products that reshaped life, and U.S. policy makers funded development of new drilling techniques that led to an unprecedented energy boom.

Resulting employment growth propelled metro areas west of the Mississippi to lead the U.S. in job gains since 2009, with Austin in the No. 1 spot with 20 percent employment growth, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The New York metro area posted a 2.9 percent employment gain over the same period, ranking it 32nd.

The Northeast, of course, remains a bastion of economic, political and cultural power, with stock trading volume on New York exchanges more than five times that of Tokyo.