AUSTIN – Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) today reports the Austin-Round Rock MSA* unemployment rate decreased from 6.3% in September 2020 to 5.1% in October 2020, or 63,682 unemployed residents.
- The region’s unemployment rate remained below Texas (6.7%)** and national (6.6%)** rates.
- According to TWC, the Austin-Round Rock region has experienced an annual growth rate of -1.9%, representing the collective loss of 21,100 jobs since October 2019. Further, TWC reports unemployment in the Capital Area/Travis County*** region decreased from 6.5% in September 2020 to 5.2% in October 2020, or 38,844 unemployed residents.
- TWC reports 5,354 new unemployment claims in October, down from the 7,562 in September.
“Now that Texans must complete specific work search activities to receive unemployment benefits, we continue to be a click or call away to connect our local people to local jobs,” said Tamara Atkinson, Chief Executive Officer at Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “Employers posted 25,000 new job ads in October. We can assist with your job search or enroll eligible residents in a no-cost, fast-track training for an in-demand career. Go to wfscapitalarea.com or call us at 512-549-4967 to begin.”
Local jobless face significant changes to Texas unemployment benefits and workforce assistance:
- On November 1, TWC began to require that to continue to receive Texas unemployment benefits, Texas’ jobless must a minimum number of work search activities each week (three per week for Travis County residents), beginning on the date listed on their work search requirement document sent from TWC. TWC previously suspended this requirement in March.
- TWC has reinstated work requirements for parents receiving child care assistance. Parents must be working or in school to receive care. Parents in the program can request to put their financial assistance on a temporary hold and will not lose their eligibility.
- Under current law, federal unemployment benefits for self-employed and gig economy workers (e.g., PUA, PEUC) will end on December 31.
- There has been no sign from Congress or the White House that negotiations on further federal stimulus have re-started.
To help Austin return to work quickly, Workforce Solutions Capital Area launched RE:WorkNOW (reworknow.org/austin), a new rapid training program for City of Austin and Travis County residents.
- With financial backing from the City of Austin and Travis County, Phase 1 of this effort will connect 260 of the region’s approximately 40,000 jobless residents into no-cost, rapid, safe job training.
- Program graduates will be connected to jobs in growing industries like IT, healthcare, skilled trades and advanced manufacturing.
- Enrollees in training courses will receive $200 weekly stipends, career advising, and placement. Childcare, transportation, and digital inclusion will also be provided as needed and as funds are available.
- Participating training providers, including Austin Community College District (ACC), have expanded rapid training programs in both remote and hybrid formats with support from Workforce Solutions Capital Area.
- Courses can take up to 12 weeks, are aligned with industry expectations, and will result in better jobs at better wages.
- This effort is part of the five-year Austin Metro Area Community Workforce Plan’s goal to lift 10,000 people out of poverty by 2021.
“When COVID-19 hit our region, our community took a hit. Thousands of people lost their jobs; many others were furloughed. Our goal is to help get Central Texans back to work,” said Dr. Richard Rhodes, Chancellor of Austin Community College District. “ACC expanded our fast-track training opportunities so that students can learn the skills they need for high-demand jobs in as little as 8 weeks. Together, with RE:WorkNOW, ACC can help link students to employers who are hiring.”
Space is limited, and enrollment into approved courses is handled first-come, first served. To learn more and apply, visit reworknow.org/austin.
“Thousands of our friends and family are still seeking work to create stability in their lives,” said Melanie Flowers, Chair of the Board of Directors for Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “As people continue to struggle with pandemic-related unemployment, we continue to engage them to offer support with job searching, training, securing employment, providing safe care for children and much more.”
Key Points by Industry in the Austin-Round Rock MSA in October 2020:
- Monthly Increases: Education and Health Services (4,100), followed by Professional & Business Services (3,600) Leisure and Hospitality (3,000), and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (2,800).
- Government also experienced an increase with 2,100 jobs.
- Monthly Decreases: No industries experienced a decrease.
- Annual Increases: Financial Activities experienced the greatest regional annual job growth with an increase of 10.9%, followed by Manufacturing (5.3%) and Professional & Business Services (5.1%).
- Annual Decreases: Industries that experienced a significant decrease in regional annual job growth include Leisure & Hospitality (-22.2%), Information (-11.3%), and Education & Health Services (-4.5%).
Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s three career centers across Austin are available by phone, email, or in-person by appointment only to serve residents and businesses impacted by economic changes caused by COVID-19.
Residents seeking assistance can contact us at 512.549.4967 or visit wfscapitalarea.com to learn about our many services and resources for job seekers, employers, parents and students.
Workforce Solutions Capital Area Workforce Board is the publicly-funded workforce board for Travis County. Through strong partnerships and strategic collaborations, Workforce Solutions is leading the region’s workforce system in the development of a world-class workforce.
*The Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties.
**Unemployment rates listed are not seasonally adjusted.
***The Capital Area Workforce Development Area includes Travis County.