‘BALANCED GROWTH’: Austin jobless rate dips as more people find work in April


The Austin-area unemployment rate headed down in April, while the number of employed workers in the metro area headed up — a pair of good signs for the region’s job market.

The metro area’s jobless rate dropped to 3.2 percent in April from 3.6 percent the prior month, according to data released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission. A drop in the area’s unemployment rate is common in April — it has declined from the previous month every year since 2000, according to workforce commission data, and was even lower at 2.9 percent in April 2016.

However, the reason for the drop this year was a surge in people landing new jobs, rather than any changes in the size of the area’s labor force. The number of employed workers in the metro area jumped by 5,400 over March, according to workforce commission data, while the annual job growth rate remained healthy at 2.9 percent.

Job creation among Austin’s high-tech firms was strong in April. Professional, scientific and technical services firms, which include many of the region’s high-tech occupations, added 1,200 jobs, according to workforce commission data. The leisure and hospitality sector also added 1,000 jobs, as did the education and health sector, according to the workforce commission. The manufacturing sector also added 600 jobs during the month, according to the workforce commission.

“Those are good numbers,” said Drew Scheberle, senior vice president at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. “The interesting part to me is that they are more heavily weighted toward export-oriented jobs, such as manufacturing. It’s good to see that finally tick up for the month.”

Scheberle said he is encouraged that the metro area is showing signs of job growth that isn’t simply tied to population growth.

“When your job growth is all in education, health care and construction, that’s just tied to population growth. Here, we are having much more balanced growth so that is good,” Scheberle said. “When you look at markets like Phoenix, Miami, Las Vegas, the industries growing there were the result of the growth of the population, which is a whole lot more precarious.”

For Texas as a whole, the stateunemployment rate held steady during April at 5 percent, the workforce commission reported, while nationwide unemployment for April was 4.4 percent.

Texas has added 258,900 jobs over the past year, according to Andres Alcantar, commission chairman.

“Texas employers continue to create jobs in the broad based Texas economy with 10 of the 11 industries expanding over the year,” Alcantar said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

How to win an argument at work - or stop one before it starts
How to win an argument at work - or stop one before it starts

No one expects to navigate the work world without the occasional argument. And it's nice to "win" when you're in the right. »RELATED: Does birth order affect you in the workplace? But what really matters more than besting your manager or co-workers in an argument is how you handle the conflicts that are an inevitable part of work, ...
Wintry weather tests Austin’s telecommuting abilities
Wintry weather tests Austin’s telecommuting abilities

As Tuesday’s wintry weather hit, a number of Central Texas workers heeded warnings to stay off icy, slick roads and remain at home – but that didn’t mean they all got the day off from work. In today’s high-tech, always-connected world, telecommuting is a viable option for workers in many fields. In fact, in the Austin technology...
8 easy, money-making side gigs for teens 
8 easy, money-making side gigs for teens 

Whether it's the teen who'd like extra money for things like clothes or gas or a parent who'd like to see their high school or college-aged child get off the couch when school’s out, a part-time job can be a wonderful thing. »RELATED: Apple hiring for work from home positions Of course, child labor laws dictate how young is too young...
Austin’s USA Compression Partners plans $1.8 billion acquisition
Austin’s USA Compression Partners plans $1.8 billion acquisition

Austin-based oilfield services company USA Compression Partners plans to buy the compression business from Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners in a $1.8 billion deal, the companies said Tuesday. The deal “expands USA Compression’s geographic reach into active basins, including Eagle Ford Shale, Gulf Coast, Rockies and Permian Basin,&rdquo...
USA Compression Partners plans $1.8 billion acquisition

USA Compression Partners on Tuesday announced the acquisition of a key rival in a complex, $1.8 billion deal that will make the Austin-based company one of the country’s largest providers of the horsepower that pushes natural gas through pipelines. USA Compression said it will acquire CDM Resource Management and CDM Environmental and Technical...
More Stories