Austin-area jobless rate jumps in August as local employers cut jobs


Austin-area employers cut jobs in August for the first time since at least 2000, sending the local unemployment rate higher, according to preliminary data from the Texas Workforce Commission.

The metro-area jobless rate rose to 3.4 percent in August from 3.2 percent the prior month, the first time Austin’s unemployment rose in an August since 2008, according to the commission.

The increase appeared to stem directly from workers losing jobs, rather than a fresh influx of new workers into the workforce. The official labor force actually contracted by 0.5 percent during the month, and the number of employed Austin resident dropped by more than 7,500, the commission said.

Austin-area employers cut 1,900 jobs during August, a decline of 0.2 percent. Since at least 2000, as far back as commission data goes, overall payrolls in Central Texas had never declined during August.

The preliminary monthly workforce data can be volatile, and the numbers often are revised upward in adjustments made each year. However, the preliminary data for August suggested employers in two key sectors of the local economy eliminated jobs during the month.

Led by cuts by local governments, public sector payrolls shrank by 2,100 positions during the month, a decline of 1.2 percent.

And companies in the professional, scientific and technical services sector – a group that includes many of Austin’s high-tech and white-collar jobs – trimmed payrolls by 1,700 jobs, a decline of 1.7 percent.

Employers in that set of professional industries now provide fewer jobs than they did at the same time last year, the commission data show.

Other sectors offset some of the losses. Education and health services firms added 1,000 jobs, and area bars and restaurants added 1,100 jobs during August.

Local manufacturers continued their resurgence, adding 600 jobs during the month. Area factories now have added 2,500 new positions over the past 12 months, an increase of 4.4 percent.

Collectively, Central Texas employers have added 21,100 jobs since August 2016, increasing aggregate payrolls 2.1 percent. If that rate holds for the entire year, it would mark the slowest job growth in Austin since the recession in 2009.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Up the Ladder

General contracting Jordan Foster Construction has named Leland Rocchio president of the company’s commercial group. Fitness industry United PF Partners has named Shelli Taylor chief operating officer. Medical Hanger Inc. has named Christopher Begley chairman of its board of directors. It also named Thomas Freyman and John Fox as directors. State...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

HOUSING MARKET Austin-area housing market stays on pace for record year: In a year that’s shaping up to be another record-breaker, Central Texas home sales increased more than 2 percent in October and the median sales price climbed more than 4 percent, the latest figures show. Year to date, sales across the region are up 1.7 percent, putting...
Governor’s tweet: Inaccurate or a breach of confidentiality?

A tweet sent Wednesday by Gov. Greg Abbott might have violated rules on the confidentiality of workforce numbers prior to their official release. “The Texas unemployment rate is now the lowest it’s been in 40 years & Texas led the nation last month in new job creation,” Abbott said in his tweet. The governor’s office dismissed...
Austin-area manufacturers battle tight job market
Austin-area manufacturers battle tight job market

A few years ago, John Newman ran into a young man working at a local restaurant. The guy was in a low-skill, low-wage job, but his work hinted at a certain aptitude with his hands and his mind. So Newman, chief financial officer at Athena Manufacturing, struck up a conversation with him. “He ended up being one of the smartest guys in our shop...
4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow
4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow

Your house is a large expense with many associated costs like a mortgage payment, insurance, maintenance and more. It provides a roof over your head, of course, but since it usually costs you money each month, why not put it to work for you and earn some cash in the process? The following are four ways your house can make you money: If you're planning...
More Stories