3-minute read

Good afternoon Austin friends,

What’s happening in our Austin metro job market:

  • Austin unemployment still double pre-pandemic levels. According to TWC data released last week, Austin’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate for January is 5.4% or 67,500 people. That compares to a seasonally adjusted rate of 2.6% in January 2020.
    • TWC will release February’s unemployment data Friday. In Travis County, new unemployment claims (a proxy for layoffs) in February decreased from January to 6,481 (-887).
  • Austin ranks near the top of major cities in narrowing job losses since the onset of the pandemic, according to Austin Chamber’s latest report for January. (more below)
  • A significant talent supply shortage projected for Austin plumbers, skilled trade workers: A JobsEQ projection over the next decade shows Austin’s ten most in-demand trade and manufacturing occupations will be short nearly 3,000 skilled workers.
  • To meet talent demand, training opportunities are here and now: Upcoming skilled trades training programs for City of Austin and Travis County residents — offered through the RE:WorkNOW rapid training program — include Skillpoint Alliance’s Pre-Apprentice Plumbing(starting April 12) and Local 286 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union’s Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) beginning in April. 
    • Thank you to our city leaders and workforce development partners who have spread the word.
  • Pflugerville Manufacturing Academy’s first cohort graduates: Pflugerville Community Development Corporation, along with workforce development partners, Austin Community College, and Workforce Solutions Capital Area, announced the first class of five has graduated from the program. (more below).

▶️ ICYMI: We are still celebrating Women’s History Month! For #WomenInConstruction week, we profiled Abigail Leighton, an MC3 gradthrough Local 286, now an apprentice in IBEW Local 520 working for a contractor. As an apprentice, Abigail gets paid to learn new skills while on the job! Watch our “Day in the Life” profile of Abigail.

In partnership, Tamara.


Pandemic’s impact still felt in labor market, but Austin ranks No. 3 in U.S. for narrowing job losses

Austin Chamber’s latest report shows Austin rank near the top of major cities when it comes to relative job growth during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The number of jobs in the Austin metro was down 2.7% in January compared with the same month a year prior — ranking it the third-strongest labor market among the 50 largest U.S. metro areas behind Jacksonville (FL) and Salt Lake City.

  • Austin’s No. 3 rank was the same as December 2020, though the metro ranked as the best-performing jobs market for several months in the second half of 2020, according to previous monthly reports.
  • The region’s unemployment rate currently sits at 5.4%. That’s the best of all metros in Texas.
  • Several private industry sectors in the Austin metro have grown over the past year, including construction, transportation and warehousing, professional and business services, wholesale trade, and financial activities.

By the numbers: 

  • During March and April 2020, 137,000 jobs were slashed at the pandemic’s onset. Nearly half of these were in the leisure and hospitality industry. 
  • Roughly 97,400 positions, or 71%, have been regained, according to the chamber report.

Yes, and: Austin’s been a magnet for corporate headquarters relocations. 

  • Last year resulted in a record number of jobs announced from business expansions and relocations.
  • So far this year, more than 1,800 jobs have been announced from corporate moves, according to a tally by Opportunity Austin.

Where other major Texas metros rank:

  • The Dallas metro followed Austin on the January list at No. 4.
  • Fort Worth and San Antonio metros also ranked in the top 10 at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively.
  • Houston’s year-over-year job loss of 6.8% ranked No. 25. 
  • Four U.S. metros recorded a decline of more than 12%: Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Orlando.

❗  The bottom line: While certain Austin industries such as skilled trades and manufacturing are projected for more growth, skillsare at a premium. This is why WFS, Travis County, the City of Austin, and ACC put together a plan to further build Austin’s economic recovery.

  • RE:WorkNOW is an opportunity to connect unemployed workers to rapid, hybrid training to earn credentials in high-demand fields. 
  • Eligible enrollees may also receive a $200 per week stipend, with more supports available to remove every barrier so our neighbors can get back to work quickly.

PCDC, Austin Community College, and WFS announce first graduating class from the Pflugerville Manufacturing Academy

The Pflugerville Community Development Corporation (PCDC) along with workforce development partners, Austin Community College (ACC), and WFS announced the first graduating class of five from the Pflugerville Manufacturing Academy Program.

Driving the news: The first Pflugerville Manufacturing Academy cohort completed a 3D Training Course designed to provide an overview of additive manufacturing and training on state-of-the-art equipment owned by local Pflugerville manufacturers.

How it works: Students spend 20 hours in a virtual classroom and 20 hours in a local additive manufacturing facility to be introduced to additive manufacturing, learn tool setup, operation, and equipment maintenance. 

  • The free 40-hour training program offers a small classroom size for maximum training on the equipment and meets all requirements for COVID-19. 
  • ACC provides the curriculum and training for the course in partnership with the PCDC and local Pflugerville additive manufacturing companies. 
  • The first class was hosted onsite by Cumberland Additive, Inc. All future onsite training will be rotated between the participating manufacturers Cumberland Additive Inc., EOS of North America, and Essentium. 
    • The consortium of local manufacturers is recognized internationally for their technology and expertise — and their facilities in Pflugerville provide a convenient classroom for those interested in this exciting industry.

How it started: The Academy program began to take shape in the spring of 2020 during weekly virtual discussions hosted by PCDC with Pflugerville local manufacturers to learn how to best support their need for a trained workforce. 

  • PCDC partnered with WFS through the Texas Workforce Commission High Demand Job Training grant program. 
  • Together, we’re providing up to $300K to fund curriculum development, training, equipment, and supplies for 120 students this year.

Partnering with businesses and community organizations is the most effective way to connect students to high-demand jobs

Dr. Laura Marmolejo, chair of the Advanced Manufacturing Department at ACC

Austin manufacturing by the numbers:

  • The manufacturing industry employs over 64,000 workers and makes up 5% of the Austin regional workforce.
    • There are 1,400 manufacturing businesses in the Austin region supplying over 57,000 jobs, according to ARMA.
    • These businesses provide $11.2B toward the regional gross domestic product. 
  • Advanced manufacturing wages in the Austin region are competitive.
    • Regional entry-level wages in advanced manufacturing range from $30-33k. Median wages range from $45-57k, and experienced salaries range from $60-150k.

What they’re saying:

  • Amy Madison, executive director of PCDC: “This first training class focuses on additive manufacturing, also known as 3D Printing, and is designed to provide pathways into this exciting and fast-growth industry. 
    • “With the assistance from Cumberland Additive, EOS of North America, and Essentium, Inc., ACC was able to develop and deliver an excellent program for these students.” 
  • Dr. Laura Marmolejo, chair of the Advanced Manufacturing Department at ACC: “ACC was excited about partnering with PCDC. Exposing more people to the great employment opportunities in the Central Texas manufacturing industry is very important.
    • “Partnering with businesses and community organizations is the most effective way to connect students to high-demand jobs.” 
  • Melanie Flowers, WFS board chair and head of technical training at Samsung Austin Semiconductor: “Our partnership shows the full ecosystem at work. It includes training providers, educators, job seekers, employers, PCDC and Workforce Solutions.”

What’s next: The Pflugerville Manufacturing Academy is currently enrolling for the third class, which will begin March 22, 2021.

  • For more info and to enroll in future classes, click here

Worth your time: Site Selection Magazine profiled Austin suburb Pflugerville’s public-private workforce development effort — including WFS, PCDC, and Pflugerville Public Library — that “sets the standard for the capital region of Texas.”

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