2-minute read

In this edition: Austin has one of the best unemployment rates among major U.S. cities, and a snapshot of the women’s labor market picture.

ICYMI: Workforce Solutions Capital Area is enrolling for the National Dislocated Worker Grant (NDWG) program, which provides Austin-Travis County residents pathways to financial stability and jobs.

  • Through NDWG, residents have access to job opportunities with employers working to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in your community.
  • This program serves those receiving unemployment benefits due to being temporarily/permanently laid off, those with drastically reduced hours at work, or the long-term unemployed.
  • Additional benefits for participating in the program include individualized career counseling, job search assistance, opportunities for in-demand career training, stop-gap supports (utilities, rent, etc.) once federal benefits end, and more.
  • Learn more on our website. Please share with your constituents.

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In partnership, Tamara.

1. Austin ranks No. 5 for lowest unemployment rate among major U.S. cities

Driving the news: Based on the latest preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of April 2021, Austin ranks No. 5 for lowest unemployment rate among major U.S. cities.

The top ten major U.S. cities with the lowest unemployment rates include:

  1. Omaha, NE (3.1%)
  2. Virginia Beach, VA (3.7)
  3. Raleigh, NC (4.0)
  4. Louisville-Jefferson County (consolidated), KY (4.1)
  5. Austin, TX (4.3)
  6. Seattle, WA (4.5)
  7. Nashville-Davidson (consolidated), TN (4.6)
  8. Minneapolis, MN (4.7)
  9. Charlotte, NC (4.7)
  10. Jacksonville, FL (4.9)

Yes, and: The City of Austin has the second-lowest unemployment rate among all major cities based on 2020 annual averages (6.2%).

Of note: In April 2021, the Austin metro’s 4.5% unemployment rate was ranked seventeenth lowest among all large metros.

What’s next: The May jobs report for Texas, the Austin metro, and Travis County will be released Friday.

Go deeper.

2. Women’s employment is moving in the right direction, but it hasn’t turned a corner yet

The U.S. May jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics signaled a slightly better story than April’s report, which saw women’s unemployment drop because more women were leaving the labor force completely.

The big picture: Although women saw some promising signs in the May jobs report, they continue to feel a disproportionate impact of job and economic losses.

U.S. labor force participation by gender, by the numbers:

  • More women joined the labor force in May, reversing the situation in April.
    • As shown in the chart above, a net total of 204,000 women (ages 20 and over) returned to the labor force in May after 165,000 left the labor force in April. A return to the labor force means they were either working or actively looking for work.
    • There were 1.79 million fewer women in the labor force in May than in February 2020, or a decline of 2.4%. In comparison, there were about 1.75 million fewer men — a 2.1% drop.
  • The labor force participation rate for women increased in May but is still below its pre-pandemic level.
    • Despite women’s participation ticking up by 0.2 percentage points from 57.2% in April, the rate is still 1.8 percentage points below the February 2020 rate, compared to a 2.0 point decline for men.

Zoom in: In Texas,labor force participation for men and women is also below pre-pandemic levels, according to Texas Workforce Commission estimates based on data from the Current Population Survey.

  • The 12-month rolling average for Texas women’s labor force participation as of March 2021 was 54.8%, 1.5 percentage points lower than the February 2020 rolling average (56.3%).
  • The 12-month rolling average for Texas men’s labor force participation as of March 2021 was 70.5%, 1.6 percentage points lower than the February 2020 rolling average (72.1%).

Go deeper: Black and Hispanic women are still behind as jobs rebound.

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