3-minute read

Good afternoon Austin friends,

In this edition: The Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) official March jobs report for Austin comes amid a hiring boom, Austin comes in No. 2 in a new ranking of the country’s top labor markets, plus honors from our friends at Early Matters Greater Austin.

Good news: According to TWC, the Austin-area unemployment rate decreased to 5.3% in March 2021. (more below)

  • Yes, but: Local unemployment is still about double the pre-pandemic rate.

🎙️ “Many residents continue to face stress and uncertainty caused by layoffs and shutdowns, but more and more jobs are becoming available — if you have the skills.” — Melanie Flowers, WFS board chair and head of technical training at Samsung Austin Semiconductor. Read more.

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In partnership, Tamara.


Austin unemployment rate falls to 5.3% in March 2021, with more jobs available than before the pandemic

A new jobs report released Friday by TWC says the Austin-area unemployment rate fell in March 2021, although still double the pre-pandemic rate.

  • The Austin metro unemployment rate for March 2021 is at 5.3% or 67,445 jobless residents.
  • Texas’ unemployment rate (7.2%) improved, remaining above the national unemployment rate (6.2%).
  • The Capital Area/Travis Co unemployment rate fell from 5.6% in February to 5.3%, representing 40,236 jobless residents.
  • Of note: Self-employed, independent, gig, and contract workers typically ineligible for regular state unemployment (e.g., PUA claimants) are not counted in these monthly tallies.

Austin metro by the numbers:

  • 14,700 jobs were added from February 2021 to March 2021.
    • Industries that experienced a significant increase in regional job growth include Leisure & Hospitality (5,800), Mining, Logging, &Construction (2,800), Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (1,800), Manufacturing (1,700), and Professional and Business Services(1,400).
    • The Austin metro’s improved annual growth rate of -1.3% represents the collective loss of 14,700 jobs since March 2020.
  • More jobs are available than before the pandemic:
    • 30,923 new job ads were posted in the Austin metro in March 2021 (5,472 more than in the pre-pandemic February 2020 and 10,300 more than in March 2020), according to Burning Glass Labor Insight.
  • Job openings are wide-ranging:
    • The Austin metro’s top hiring occupation groups in February were IT (4,505), management (4,196), office admin & support (2,815), and healthcare practitioners & technical (2,547).
    • The top titles posted in job ads were customer service reps (112), sales associate (100), server (90), assistant manager (78), and admin assistant (76). 
    • The top companies hiring were IBM (509), Ascension Health (396), Hospital Corporation of America (343), Dell (296), and Facebook (294).

❗ Bottom line: Recovery is underway, and this means more jobs. But the jobs with long-term earning potential require skills.

  • We’re here to train residents for the jobs of today, and Workforce Solutions is the hub for connecting people to these jobs.
  • WFS’ proven training effectiveness: In 2020, our customers who obtained training-related employment had an average post-program wage increase of $35,062 per year.
    • These customers earned an average wage of $56,669 per year.

📅 Our next job fair will be on Friday, April 23, held in partnership with Good Work Austin, a coalition of locally-owned restaurants offering safe work opportunities for diverse populations.

  • WFS held 4 job fairs in March, attended by 2,278 job seekers and 171 employers.
    • Our largest March job fair was in partnership with Pflugerville ISD for middle and high school students from several campuses.

Go deeper.


WSJ: Austin booms as one of country’s hottest job markets

The Wall Street Journal says Austin and other hubs far from the East and West coasts “emerged as beacons to job seekers and businesses during the pandemic.”

Driving the news: In a study of the 53 U.S. metro areas with at least 1 million residents, the Wall Street Journal puts Austin at No. 2 in its ranking of the country’s top labor markets — a key element in determining a region’s “boomtown” status. 

  • For its list, the Journal looked at factors like unemployment rate, wages, and changes in payroll and workforce size.
  • Ahead of Austin in the ranking is Salt Lake City. Austin is followed by Denver, Indianapolis, and Washington, D.C.

Worth your time: WFS data specialist Jessica Garay spoke with KXAN last week on the demand boom for tech jobs, the projected shortage of skilled tech workers, and how our training programs help fill the talent gaps in our region.

Go deeper.


Workforce Solutions Capital Area named 2021 Best Place for Working Parents in Austin

WFS is excited to announce its recognition as a Best Place for Working Parents in Austin by Early Matters Greater Austin, the regional arm of this Texas-based initiative.

The big picture: The 2021 Best Place for Working Parents™ designation recognizes businesses committed to supporting working parents through their family-friendly policies and practices. 

Why it matters: Early Matters Greater Austin believes that supportive policies and practices increase organizational productivity and support the physical and emotional health of employees and their families. 

Go deeper.

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