Job Growth & Unemployment

Posted on 07/28/2015 by Beverly Kerr

  • Austin added 30,400 net new jobs, or 3.3%, in the 12 months ending in June, making it the twelfth fastest growing major metro.

  • Seasonally adjusted job growth from May to June is at 0.1%.

  • The number of unemployed has declined by 11,161 or 24.0% since last June.

  • At 3.1%, seasonally adjusted unemployment is at its lowest level since before the early 2000s "dot-com" recession.

The Austin metropolitan area added 30,400 jobs, or 3.3%, in the 12 months ending in June, according to the latest release of payroll jobs numbers by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Austin’s 3.3% growth makes it the twelfth best performing among the 50 largest metro areas. Dallas grew by 4.0%, ranking fifth. The other major Texas metros missed the top 10. San Antonio grew by 2.8% (21st), Fort Worth grew by 2.7% (26th), and Houston grew by 1.9% (38th) between June 2014 and June 2015.

For the year ending in June, private sector job growth in the Austin MSA is 3.8%, or 28,500 jobs, and with all private industry divisions, except manufacturing, contributing to the growth. Austin's sizable government sector (nearly 19% of jobs) saw modest growth over the last 12 months, gaining only 1,900 jobs or 1.1%, thus bringing the overall job growth rate to 3.3%.

Texas saw weaker net private sector job growth of 2.6% with all private industry divisions, except manufacturing, adding jobs over the last 12 months. As with Austin, total job growth statewide is lower, 2.4%, due to the only moderate growth (1.2%) in the government sector, which accounts for over 16% of total state employment. For the nation, private sector growth is 2.4% for the 12 months ending in June, with all private industries adding jobs. Overall job growth is a more modest 2.1% because the government sector gained only 0.2%.

Jobs in June are up from the preceding month by 2,500 jobs or 0.3% in the not-seasonally-adjusted series for Austin, however, May-to-June change on a seasonally adjusted basis is flatter—up 1,100 jobs or 0.1%. Statewide, seasonally adjusted jobs are up 16,700 or 0.1%. On a seasonally adjusted basis, jobs are also up 0.1% in Houston. The month’s gains in Dallas and Fort Worth are 0.7% and 0.4%, respectively. Jobs declined in San Antonio by 0.1%. Nationally, seasonally adjusted jobs rose 0.2% in June.

In Austin, the industry adding the most jobs is professional and business services which grew by 7,600 jobs or 5.1%, over the last 12 months. The industry with the largest percent change is education and health services, which is up 6.1% or 6,500 jobs. Also growing at faster-than-average rates are leisure and hospitality (5.8% or 6,300 jobs) and information (4.4% or 1,100 jobs). The manufacturing sector lost 800 jobs or -1.4%.

Statewide, leisure and hospitality grew fastest and added the most jobs, 5.1% or 61,900 jobs. The other relatively fast growing industries were education and health services (up 3.9%); professional and business services (3.5%); transportation, warehousing and utilities (3.5%); and wholesale trade (2.7%). Manufacturing declined by 20,500 jobs (-2.3%).

Nationally, professional and business services grew fastest and added the most jobs (3.5% or 671,000 jobs) over the 12 months ending in June. Transportation, warehousing and utilities (up 3.0%); leisure and hospitality (2.9%); construction and natural resources (2.9%); and education and health services (2.7%); also grew at faster-than-average rates. No industry lost jobs. In contrast to Austin and Texas, manufacturing grew by 1.3%.

The net gain for private service-providing industries in Austin is 28,500 jobs, or 4.5%, over the last 12 months. Employment in goods producing industries is unchanged. Statewide, private service-providing industries are up 262,000 or 3.3% but goods producing industries are down 8,100 jobs or -0.4%.

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 that we often do a ranking of will not be released until tomorrow, July 29. In May, Austin had the 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 3.3%, while the other major metros range from 3.8% in San Antonio to 4.5% in Houston. Dallas and Fort Worth are at 4.0% and 4.1% respectively. Austin’s rate one year ago was 4.4%. The rates in Texas’ other major metros are 0.8 (Houston) to 1.3 (Dallas) percentage points improved on the rates seen a year ago. The statewide not-seasonally-adjusted rate is now 4.4%, compared to 5.4% in June of last year. The June national rate is 5.5% compared to 6.3% in June of last year.

In 2007, before the impact of the Great Recession, unemployment averaged 3.6% in Austin, 4.3% in Texas, and 4.6% nationally. Based on average rates for the first half of 2015, unemployment is lower in Austin (3.3%) than before the recession. Texas’ unemployment is the same as it averaged in 2007, while the nation, with unemployment averaging 5.6%, still has ground to make up.

Within the Austin MSA, Travis County has the lowest unemployment rate in June, at 3.2%, while Caldwell County has the highest at 4.4%. The rate is 3.4% in Williamson County, 3.5% in Hays County, and 4.1% in Bastrop County.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, Austin’s June unemployment rate is 3.1%, improved from 3.2% in May. Austin has not seen unemployment this low since January 2001, before the “dot-com” recession. The statewide rate is 4.2%, down from 4.3% in May. The last time Texas’ rate was as low as 4.2% was mid-2007. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment fell from 5.5% in May to 5.3% in June. The national rate has yet to fall to the level it averaged (4.6%) through 2006 and 2007 before the impact of the Great Recession.

San Antonio has the next lowest seasonally adjusted rate at 3.5%, while Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston are at 3.7%, 3.9% and 4.1% respectively. June rates are improved from May in each metro except Houston which is unchanged. 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.)

With Austin’s unemployment rate down from one year ago, the number unemployed has also declined. In June 2014, Austin’s number of unemployed was 46,514, and has decreased by 11,161 or 24.0%, to 35,353. Unemployment averaged more than 60,000 for three years running during the Great Recession.

The Austin metro’s civilian labor force (employed plus unemployed) increased by 2,805 or 0.3% in the last 12 months, while persons employed increased by 13,966 or 1.4%. Texas saw positive growth in employed (0.6%) while labor force declined by 0.5%, and 134,562 fewer people (18.8%) are unemployed. Nationally, June civilian labor force is up by 0.8%, while employed is above the level of a year ago by 1.7%, and nearly 1.3 million fewer people (12.7%) are unemployed.

Texas Workforce Commission will release July estimates on August 21.


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.


Related Categories: Central Texas Economy in Perspective