AUSTIN – The Austin-area unemployment rate increased in January 2021, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). TWC’s updated employment estimates released today say the Austin-Round Rock MSA* unemployment rate is 5.4% in January 2021, or 67,455 unemployed residents. This is double the unemployment rate of January 2020. Each March, TWC and the Bureau of Labor Statistics revises and finalizes previous unemployment estimates.

  • The region’s unemployment rate remained below Texas (7.3%)** and national (6.8%)** rates.
  • According to TWC, the Austin-Round Rock region lost 8,200 jobs from December 2020 to January 2021. The region has experienced an annual growth rate of -2.7%, representing the collective loss of 31,100 jobs since January 2020.
  • Further, TWC reports unemployment in the Capital Area/Travis County*** region increased from a revised 4.9% in December 2020 to 5.4% in January 2021, or 37,040 unemployed residents.
  • TWC reports 7,358 new unemployment claims in January 2021, up over 2,200 from the month prior.

Significant changes to Texas unemployment benefits:

  • President Biden yesterday signed into law the American Rescue Plan. The legislation includes an extension of two key pandemic unemployment programs, which, under previous law, would expire on March 14.
    • Other provisions include a $300 weekly federal boost to unemployment benefits through September 6, increased tax credits for families and certain low-income workers, and funds to help child care providers stay open, among other aid.
    • The bill also provides funds to state and local governments, with allocations for infrastructure projects.

“Austin is one of the fastest recovering metros in the nation, and we are hopeful for our community. Still, many of our neighbors continue to weather disruption brought on by the pandemic,” said Tamara Atkinson, Chief Executive Officer at Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “Businesses in healthcare, manufacturing, skilled trades, and IT are hiring now and Workforce Solutions can connect motivated job seekers to new career opportunities with local employers.

“For residents looking to adapt to changes in 2021, Workforce Solutions is here to help you with sponsored training, career prep, and many other support services. One call to us can get you started.”

January Job Growth/Losses by Industry in the Austin-Round Rock MSA:

  • Monthly Increases: Education and Health Services (1,800), Professional & Business Services (1,000), and Other Services (500).
  • Monthly Decreases: Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (-3,600), Manufacturing (-2,300), Leisure and Hospitality (-2,300), and Government (-2,100).
    • Other industries that experienced decreases are Mining, Logging, and Construction (-500), Financial Activities (-500), and Information (-200).
  • Annual Increases: Professional & Business Services experienced the greatest regional job growth over the last 12 months with an increase of 3.8%, followed by Financial Activities (1.8%), Mining, Logging and Construction (1.7%), and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (1.1%).
  • Annual Decreases: Industries that experienced a significant decrease in regional job growth over the last 12 months include Leisure & Hospitality (-21.4%), Other Services (-8.9%), Education & Health Services (-4.1%), and Government (-2.4%).
  • Of note: 23,174 new job ads were posted in Austin MSA in January 2021, which is 1,638 fewer than the same period a year prior.

Learn a skilled trade, be part of Austin’s recovery

In the Austin metro, demand has long been growing for skilled trade workers, including plumbers and electricians, among others. The February winter storm exacerbated this problem, especially for residents with infrastructure and home repair needs.

Now, City of Austin and Travis County residents can be a part of the solution to recovery and economic resiliency. Workforce Solutions Capital Area teamed with the City of Austin and Travis County to provide no-cost, fast-track training for eligible residents in various skilled trades.

“This is a community effort for which Workforce Solutions partnered with community leaders like the City of Austin, Travis County, and training providers like Austin Community College, Skillpoint Alliance, and our local chapter of the plumbers and pipefitters union,” said Melanie Flowers, Chair of the Board of Directors for Workforce Solutions Capital Area.

“We invite Austinites to pursue a career in valuable, high-skilled occupations like plumbers, electricians, HVAC installers, and more,” Flowers said. “With growing demand comes more opportunities for upward growth, and Workforce Solutions is here to help you begin.”

The RE:WorkNOW rapid training program offers courses that can take as little as four weeks and in high-growth industries — skilled trades, manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology. Eligible trainees can receive weekly cash stipends, and Workforce Solutions can assist with necessities like childcare, transportation, and digital inclusion.

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 to learn about training in the skilled trades and our many other 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.

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