Austin area hits lowest unemployment rate since pandemic began

The most recent employment report from the Texas Workforce Commission shows the MSA of Austin-Round Rock has an unemployment rate of 2.5%.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin’s unemployment rate is the lowest since the pandemic began.

Two years ago, in May 2020, the unemployment rate in the Austin-Metro area was 11.4% due to pandemic challenges and layoffs. But labor leaders say Austin’s unemployment rate has made a comeback and is now at 2.5%, the lowest in the entire pandemic.

Jameson Cardenas, senior director of marketing and communications at Workforce Solutions Capital Area, says the hot job market is ideal for job seekers because they have plenty of options, but it’s a challenge for employers.

He says employers should consider hiring bonuses, raise salaries and have growth opportunities within the company in order to hire people.

I think what we’ve seen, and what we hope to continue to see, is that all industries right now are hungry for talent,” Cardenas said.

From March 2022 to April 2022, the industries that saw the largest increases in workers were professional business services, recreation and hospitality, and manufacturing.

Workforce Solutions reports that over the past 12 months, 34,344 Austin MSA companies have posted jobs, with the top 10 including Dell Technologies, University of Texas, Apple, Austin ISD, City of Austin, IBM, Texas State University, HEB, Round Rock ISD, and Amazon.

The labor market has been growing strongly for several years. Workforce Solutions reports that from 2016 to 2021, jobs grew 13.7% in MSA Austin. This change far exceeds the national employment growth rate of 0.7%.

Some of the industries that saw declines from March 2022 to April 2022 are construction and transportation. They believe this is due to material supply chain issues for projects and a shortage of skilled talent, such as certified truck drivers. They also believe that competition for workers jumping on different opportunities in the industry for better pay and HVAC contractors not being hired for the summer have contributed to the decline. But they expect these industries to see increased workforces in the coming months.

“We know that transportation and specialty trade have a lot of summer plans coming up, so we generally see an increase in hiring during the summer for those industries,” Cardenas explained.

The struggle for many people in Austin is finding jobs that pay enough to meet the high cost of living. That’s why Workforce Solutions offers training programs in areas like manufacturing and healthcare, which can lead to higher salaries.

“Our goal here at Workforce Solutions is to make life easier for people here in Austin, so they don’t get kicked out, that’s what we focus on,” Cardenas said.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area offers training to enter in-demand industries such as construction, manufacturing, technology, and healthcare.

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