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Austin ranks as 5th highest city for layoffs

A new study shows that Austin ranks fifth highest of U.S. cities for layoffs already in 2023.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that Austin ranked No. 5 for tech layoffs across the country. The story has been updated to reflect that Austin ranks No. 5 for layoffs, regardless of industry.

A new study of mass layoffs showed that Texas took a hit this year.

CivMetrics, an economic data collector, shows that Texas ranks second for most layoffs in the country, and Austin ranks fifth highest for layoffs across major cities, totaling 1,255 workers losing their jobs in 2023.

One of the hardest-hit industries is the tech industry, with companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon cutting their employees. 

Ray Perryman, founder and CEO of economic research and analysis firm The Perryman Group, said this is to be expected for a large tech city like Austin.

"When you have a big set of national tech layoffs, Austin’s going to be pretty high on the list because there's so much tech employment, so much concentration," Perryman said.

He also said tech layoffs are not a surprise looking at the state of the economy.

"We're going to see certainly a slowdown in the economy, and that affects any company or any industry that's tied to economic growth. And that would be the tech sector," Perryman said.

Perryman said it’s important to look at the numbers in perspective. Layoffs in Austin represent only one-tenth of the number of people working in the city, and it’s a number that hasn’t slowed down companies from moving to Central Texas.

"We still are receiving lots of inquiries of interest, still a lot of companies that are looking to locate here," said Roland Pena, senior vice president of global technology and innovation at Opportunity Austin, Austin Chamber.

Experts say the diverse range of tech companies is also what will keep Austinites employed. Perryman said non-tech companies have had a shortage of tech-skilled workers for the past decade.

"Not only do you have technology in a lot of different areas like semiconductors and software and gaming and many other things, but you also have a lot of other companies that make use of technology and consequently need these workers," Perryman said.

Now, one former tech employee is thinking of making that move to another sector.

"It was called a digital marketing specialist, so I thought I might like to transition to something like that because it still gets good pay. You still get good benefits," said former tech worker Angela Dion.

Perryman predicts more tech workers will do the same in the near future.

"I think you're likely to see some of those people relocate into other industries, still essentially doing the same thing, using the same skill sets but applying them in the sectors that are consumers of technology as opposed to manufacturers or developers of technology," Perryman said.

For now, the tech industry will continue to be a growth driver for Austin.

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