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July 24, 2018 - Job Growth & Unemployment

Posted By Beverly Kerr | Jul 24, 2018
Central Texas Economy in Perspective Print Article Skyline
  • Austin added 35,700 net new jobs, growth of 3.4%, in the 12 months ending in June, making Austin the second fastest growing major metro.
  • Wholesale trade was the fastest growing industry in the Austin MSA, increasing jobs by 13.2% (6,800 jobs) over the last 12 months. Professional and business services added the most jobs—11,600 (6.6% growth).
  • Austin's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 3.0%, up from 2.9% in May.

The Austin metropolitan area added 35,700 net new jobs, or 3.4%, in the 12 months ending in June, according to Friday's releases of preliminary payroll jobs numbers by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Austin’s 3.4% growth makes it the second best performing among the 50 largest metro areas (following Orlando with 3.6% growth). Dallas and Houston, up 3.2% and 3.1% respectively, also made the top ten. Fort Worth (up 2.5%) and San Antonio (up 1.5%) ranked 15th and 33rd.

For the year ending in June, private sector job growth in the Austin MSA is 4.5%, or 38,100 jobs, with all private industry divisions, except education and health services, adding jobs. Austin's sizable government sector (over 17% of jobs) saw jobs contract over the last 12 months, losing 2,400 jobs or 1.3%, thus bringing the overall job growth rate to 3.4%.

Texas saw net private sector job growth of 3.4% with all private industries, except information, adding jobs over the last 12 months. Total job growth was 2.9% as the government sector, which accounts for 16% of total state employment, was up by only 0.2%. For the nation, private sector growth is 1.9% for the 12 months ending in June with all private industries, except information, adding jobs. Overall job growth is a more modest 1.6% because government sector growth was essentially unchanged.

Jobs in June are up from the preceding month by 5,500 jobs or 0.5% in the not-seasonally-adjusted series for Austin. In the seasonally adjusted series, growth from May to June is 2,700 jobs or 0.3%. Seasonally adjusted jobs are up by 0.4% in Houston, 0.3% in Dallas, 0.1% in San Antonio, and essentially unchanged in Fort Worth. Statewide, seasonally adjusted jobs are up 27,200 or 0.2%. Nationally, seasonally adjusted jobs are up 0.1% from May.

In Austin, the industry adding the most jobs is professional and business services, which grew by 11,600 jobs, or 6.6%, over the last 12 months. Wholesale trade grew fastest, at 13.2%, and added 6,800 jobs. Also growing at faster-than-average rates are transportation, warehousing and utilities (7.7% or 1,500 jobs) and leisure and hospitality (7.0% or 8,900 jobs).

Statewide, construction and natural resources grew fastest, at 8.1%, and created 76,200 jobs. Professional and business services added the most jobs, 87,000, while growing 5.2% over the last 12 months. The other relatively fast growing industries include transportation, warehousing, and utilities (4.3%) and leisure and hospitality (3.7%). Jobs declined in information by 1.1%.

Nationally, construction and natural resources grew fastest, adding 4.3% over the 12 months ending in June. Transportation, warehousing, and utilities (3.2%); professional and business services (2.6%); and manufacturing (2.3%) were also relatively fast growing. Information jobs fell by 1.0%.

The net gain for private service-providing industries in Austin is 34,100 jobs, or 4.6%, over the last 12 months. Employment in goods producing industries is up by 4,000 jobs or 3.3%. Statewide, private service-providing industries are up 244,800, or 2.9%, and goods producing industries are up 103,500 jobs, or 5.8%.

We also now have June labor force, employment, and unemployment numbers for Texas and local areas in Texas. The same data for all U.S. metros will not be released until August 1. In May, Austin had the eighth lowest rate of unemployment among the 50 largest metros.

Unemployment numbers for June show Austin’s performance relative to the state and other major Texas metros being sustained. In June, Austin is at 3.2%, while the other major metros range from 3.6% in San Antonio to 4.6% in Houston. Dallas and Fort Worth are at 3.8%. Austin’s rate one year ago was 3.3%. The rates in Texas’ other major metros are also each below the rates seen a year ago. The statewide not-seasonally-adjusted rate is now 4.2%, down from 4.5% in June of last year. The national unemployment rate is 4.2%, improved from 4.5% in June 2017.

Within the Austin MSA, Travis County has the lowest unemployment rate in June, at 3.1%, while Caldwell County has the highest at 4.0%. The rate is 3.3% in Hays and Williamson Counties, and 3.9% in Bastrop County.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, Austin’s June unemployment rate is 3.0%, up from 2.9% in May. The statewide seasonally adjusted rate is 4.0% in June, improved from 4.1% in May, while the national rate is 4.0%, up from 3.8%.

Among Texas’ major metros, San Antonio has the next lowest seasonally adjusted rate at 3.3%, Dallas is at 3.5%, Fort Worth is at 3.6%, and Houston is at 4.4%. June rates are above May in Fort Worth as well as Austin, unchanged in Dallas and San Antonio, and improved in Houston. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for Texas metros are produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. (The TWC also produces seasonally adjusted rates for Texas metros, but publication lags the Dallas Fed’s data.)

While Austin’s unemployment rate has fallen, by one tenth of a percentage point, over what it was one year ago, the number unemployed is higher. In June 2017, Austin’s number of unemployed was 37,631. Over the last 12 months, the unemployed have increased by 461, or 1.2%, to 38,092.

The Austin metro’s civilian labor force (employed plus unemployed) has increased by 3.4% or 39,067 persons from one year ago, while persons employed increased by 3.5% or 38,606. Texas has also seen greater growth in employed (2.5%) than labor force (2.2%), and the number unemployed decreased by 25,371 or 4.2%. Nationally, June civilian labor force is up by 1.2%, while employed is above the level of a year ago by 1.5%, and 438,000 fewer people (6.0%) are unemployed.

The TWC and the BLS will release July estimates on August 17.

The Chamber’s Economic Indicators page provides up-to-date historical spreadsheet versions of Austin, Texas and U.S. data for both the Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) data addressed above.

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Beverly Kerr

Vice President of Research, Beverly Kerr, joined the Chamber’s Economic Development Department in 2004, following 10 years in a similar role with the Kansas City Area Development Council. Beverly earned an M.A. in economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.