Hiring surge, especially at schools, drops Austin unemployment rate


Austin-area workers streamed back into the labor force and, for most of them, directly into jobs during September, pushing the metro-area unemployment rate back down below 3 percent, according to preliminary data released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission.

The number of employed Central Texans surged almost four times faster than the typical gains for September, according to commission data. Both the official labor force and the number of employed workers grew at their fastest rates since at least 2000.

The combination sent the jobless rate down to 2.9 percent, a drop from a revised 3.3 percent in August, the commission said.

The start of the school year accounted for most of the new, returning and freshly employed workers. State and local governments added 10,500 jobs during the month, an increase in line with the public sector’s average September growth since 2000, according to commission data.

That hiring offset the typical September payroll cuts by the private sector. Private firms shaved 2,200 jobs during the month, in line with seasonal trends for the month.

However, the area’s bars, restaurants and hotels made unusually large reductions, the data showed. The leisure and hospitality sector cut 3,200 jobs in September, a decline of 2.5 percent.

On average since 2000, the sector only reduced payrolls 0.2 percent in September. This was the first time the leisure and hospitality industries collectively cut jobs in a September since 2010.

As a whole, regional employers added 8,300 jobs during the month, an increase of 0.8 percent from August, during which they’d trimmed payrolls.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

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...
Austin-based jeweler Kendra Scott set for overseas debut
Austin-based jeweler Kendra Scott set for overseas debut

Austin-based Kendra Scott LLC is heading overseas. The company, which produces and sells jewelry popular with a wide swath of Americans including a number of A-list celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, will open its first location outside the U.S. on Monday in London. The “shop-in-shop” will be inside Selfridges, a high-end department...
As Austin nursing shortage grows, traveling nurses help fill gap
As Austin nursing shortage grows, traveling nurses help fill gap

It took months for Ashley Senatus to find her first nursing job, and she loved the colleagues and managers with whom she worked over the next three-plus years. She just couldn’t ignore her curiosity and sense of adventure. So rather than settle into a nursing career in her hometown Miami, she signed on with Cross Country Staffing, one of the...
6 things to know about working for Uber
6 things to know about working for Uber

Uber has been making headlines in recent months for everything from a new CEO to industry regulation. But if you want to work as a driver for the service that revolutionized the taxi-transport industry, there is more important information about Uber you'll want to check out. Here are six things you need to know about Uber before working for them...
More Stories