AUSTIN – Figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission today show the unemployment rate in the Austin-Round Rock MSA* decreased from 7.3% in June 2020 to 6.7% in July 2020. The 6.7% unemployment rate represented 81,942 residents seeking jobless benefits. The region’s unemployment rate remained below Texas (8.2%)** and national (10.5%)** rates.
The Austin-Round Rock region has experienced an annual growth rate of -4.0%, representing the collective loss of 44,800 jobs since July 2019.
Further, unemployment in the Capital Area/Travis County*** decreased from 7.5% in June 2020 to 6.9% in July 2020. The 6.9% unemployment rate represented 50,485 residents who have applied for jobless benefits. The Capital Area/Travis County unemployment rate rose above the overall Austin-Round Rock MSA rate and remained below the state of Texas and national rates.
Sectors leading the July job growth are Trade, Transportation, & Utilities; Professional & Business Services; Manufacturing; Education & Health Services; and Government. The Leisure & Hospitality sector continues to experience the greatest job loss during the pandemic due to enhanced safety measures and business closures.
Tesla began posting job opportunities online tied to the gigafactory or local construction earlier this month, with more active listings for Austin-area jobs related to other local ventures.
New unemployment claims have decreased compared to earlier months in the pandemic, with 9,245 approved claims in July. The new filings decreased by the week, from 3,008 the week of July 5 to 1,516 the week of July 28.
“With the decrease in new claims, we’re hopeful that pandemic-related layoffs are tapering off,” said Tamara Atkinson, Chief Executive Officer at Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “However, while Austin’s unemployment rate is lower than at the pandemic’s beginning, it remains 2.5 times higher than the 2.8% rate in July 2019.”
The unemployed in Travis County as of June 2020 are disproportionately persons of color, younger (ages 16 to 34), and have less education than an associate’s degree, according to data available through Burning Glass Technologies Labor Insight. One in four jobless residents were previously in foodservice, retail, and personal care occupations.
Unemployment in Travis County has also disproportionately impacted lower-income residents. From March to July 2020, approximately 50 percent of jobless claimants in Travis County earned less than $30,000 per year when they were working. About 78 percent previously earned less than $50,000 per year.
Workforce Solutions has observed significant changes to unemployment benefits and workforce assistance:
- Jobless residents are anticipating a $300 federal enhanced unemployment benefit stemming from an Executive Memorandum that President Donald Trump signed on August 8. State governments are asked, but not required, to contribute $100 to the total.
- Before the money can be added to unemployment payments, state governments must apply for the federal funds. Governor Greg Abbott said on August 20 that Texas will apply for federal funding to provide the extra $300 every week for people who have lost their jobs. Abbott did not indicate that the state intended to boost the payment with an additional $100 per week.
- Since the $600 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) expired on July 25, no pandemic stipends have been issued for the current 50,485 jobless in Travis County.
- Amid a current four-fold increase in demand for reemployment se