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Austin area hits lowest unemployment rate since pandemic began

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

AUSTIN, Texas — The unemployment rate in Austin is the lowest it has been since the pandemic started.

Two years ago, in May of 2020, the unemployment rate in the Austin-Metro area was 11.4% due to challenges and layoffs from the pandemic. But workforce leaders say the Austin unemployment rate has made a comeback and is now 2.5%, which is the lowest it has been the entire pandemic.

Jameson Cardenas, the senior director of marketing and communications at Workforce Solutions Capital Area, says the hot job market is great for people looking for work, as they have a lot of options, but it is a challenge for employers.

He says employers should consider sign-on bonuses, increasing wages and having opportunities for growth within the company in order to hire people on.

I think what we've been seeing, and what we expect to continue to see, is that all industries right now are hungry for talent,” said Cardenas.

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

Workforce Solutions say that in the last 12 months, 34,344 companies in Austin MSA posted jobs, the top 10 including Dell Technologies, University of Texas, Apple, Austin ISD, City of Austin, IBM, Texas State University, H-E-B, Round Rock ISD and Amazon.

The job market has been growing significantly for the past few years. Workforce Solutions says that from 2016 to 2021, jobs increased by 13.7% in the Austin MSA. This change by far outpaces the national job growth rate of 0.7%.

Some of the industries that saw decreases from March 2022 to April 2022 were construction and transportation. They believe this is due to supply chain issues on materials for projects and shortage of skilled talent, like certified truck drivers. They also believe competition for workers who jump to different opportunities in the industry for better pay and HVAC contractors not being hired on for the summer yet contributed to this decrease. But they expect these industries to see increases in workers in the coming months.

“We know that transportation and skilled trade have a lot of summer projects coming up, and so we generally see hiring ramp up in the summer for these industries,” explained Cardenas.

The struggle for many people in Austin is finding jobs that can pay enough to keep up with the high cost of living. This is why Workforce Solutions offers training programs in fields, like manufacturing and health care, that can lead to higher wages.

“Our goal here at Workforce Solutions is to make it easier for people to live here in Austin, so they're not pushed out, that is what we are focusing on,” Cardenas said.

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

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