AUSTIN – The Austin-area unemployment rate increased in February 2021, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). TWC’s updated employment estimates released today say the Austin-Round Rock MSA* unemployment rate rose from 5.4% in January 2021 to 5.6% in February 2021, or 70,448 unemployed residents.
- The region’s unemployment rate remained below Texas (7.5%)** and national (6.6%)** rates.
- According to TWC, the Austin-Round Rock region added 6,700 jobs from January 2021 to February 2021. The region has experienced an annual growth rate of -3%, representing the collective loss of 34,600 jobs since February 2020.
- Further, TWC reports unemployment in the Capital Area/Travis County*** region increased from 5.4% in January 2021 to 5.6% in February 2021, or 41,960 unemployed residents.
- TWC reports 6,481 new unemployment claims in February 2021, down over 800 from the month prior.
“Our community is still feeling the impacts of the pandemic, but Austin is one of the highest-performing metros for narrowing job losses,” said Tamara Atkinson, Chief Executive Officer at Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “Employers posted over 20,000 new job ads in February. Although our local job market has changed enormously, Austin is recovering and opportunities are available now — if you have the skills.
“We can assist with your job search or enroll eligible residents in a no-cost, fast-track training for an in-demand career. Visit our website at wfscapitalarea.com, or call us at 512-549-4967 to begin.”
January Job Growth/Losses by Industry in the Austin-Round Rock MSA:
- Monthly Increases: Education & Health Services (3,000), Mining, Logging, & Construction (1,200), Financial Activities (1,000), and Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (900).
- Other industries that experienced increases are Other Services (500), Government (300), Information (300), and Manufacturing (100).
- Monthly Decreases: Leisure and Hospitality (-600).
- Annual Increases: Professional & Business Services experienced the greatest regional job growth over the last 12 months with an increase of 2.9%, followed by Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (2.4%), Mining, Logging & Construction (2.1%), and Financial Activities (2%).
- Annual Decreases: Industries that experienced a significant decrease in regional job growth over the last 12 months include Leisure & Hospitality (-21.8%), Other Services (-9.1%), Education & Health Services (-5.7%), and Government (-3.2%).
Skills Training to Further Austin’s Recovery
Workforce Solutions’ RE:WorkNOW rapid training program was created to link up to 260 potential workers with companies looking for talent, with the City of Austin and Travis County using $3.1 million in CARES Act money and general funds to fund it through September.
“A skilled workforce contributes to a safe, equitable, prosperous community. We know where the jobs are and the skills needed for those jobs. We are ready to train the workforce,” said Atkinson. “Further investment will yield benefits for future generations.”
RE:WorkNOW is designed for residents whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19. With trainings offered in a virtual or hybrid setting, RE:WorkNOW safely connects local people to good jobs in Austin’s most in-demand industries, including skilled trades, manufacturing, healthcare, and IT. Courses are fast-tracked, offered at no cost, and eligible participants can get paid to train.
- Upcoming skilled trades training programs for City of Austin and Travis County residents — offered through RE:WorkNOW — include Skillpoint Alliance’s four-week Pre-Apprentice Plumbing program, which starts April 12. Local 286 Plumbers & Pipefitters Union’s two-week course called Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) will start on April 19. MC3 helps job seekers pick up the tools and techniques of skilled trades.
- Graduates will receive industry-recognized licenses and certificates to begin working in the field. Workforce Solutions will assist graduates to find jobs with local employers who are hiring now.
- The Certified Production Technician Training program — also offered through RE:WorkNOW — is a 100% virtual, safe, no-cost training coordinated by the Central Texas Manufacturing Partnership. Eligible students take online classes with Austin Community College and Skillpoint Alliance with an optional component held in-person safely.
- Upon completion, graduates receive a nationally recognized certification that demonstrates to employers that they have the knowledge and skills needed for a manufacturing assembly job.
- Workforce Solutions assists graduates find work with one of the many local companies in this high-demand industry, including Samsung Austin Semiconductor. Entry-level technicians can expect to earn $15-20 an hour with opportunities for advancement and further training.
- The next training will be held April 26 – June 4 (Mon – Fri; virtual) through Skillpoint Alliance.
“Thousands of our friends and family are seeking to create stability in their lives by securing productive employment,” said Melanie Flowers, Chair of the Board of Directors for Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “As residents 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.”
Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s three career centers across Austin are available by phone, email, or in-person 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 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.