Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation due to its burgeoning tech scene, rich local history, relatively low cost of living compared to other major cities, an abundance of music festivals, a unique food scene, and so much more. With hundreds of new Austinites flooding the city every day, it makes sense to worry about whether local businesses will be able to keep up with all of the new demand for jobs. The unemployment rate in Texas is at an all-time low, but in the last few months Austin’s growth has been slowing down.
According to a recent article on the on the Austin American Statesman website, the unemployment rate in the Austin metro area has gone up for the first time since 2008. Interestingly, the article states the local unemployment rate has risen from 3.2% to 3.4% between August and September on account of people losing their jobs as opposed to new arrivals to the workforce according to data collected by the Texas Workforce Commission. In fact, they found that the labor force contracted by about .5% because companies are cutting back the number of jobs available. This is also the first time since 2000 that companies have cut back jobs to this degree. The two industries most responsible for this decline are the public sector, which cut back 2,100 jobs, and the tech industry, which cut 1,700. However, these were offset by an increase in education sector jobs and restaurant industry jobs. When looking at the entire year there is still overall growth, but it looks like it may be the slowest growth that Austin has experienced since the Great Recession.
Any time there is an article that claims the unemployment rate is increasing, it tends to cause people to panic. However, the numbers for Austin actually look excellent. An unemployment rate of 4% is typically considered to be full employment, and when unemployment dips below that companies will find it difficult to keep expanding and find workers to fill all of their positions. Some local employment agencies like WorkSTEPS in Austin can help companies find competent workers they know will be reliable, but when unemployment is this low, it will still be difficult to push for ever-increasing growth.
Because the city of Austin is still expected to experience overall job growth for the year, and because the unemployment rate is still incredibly low, there is little cause to worry that there will not be enough jobs to go around. Continuously expanding growth is never sustainable, so it is only natural that as Austin gets more popular and the cost of living rises that the rush of people into the area will slow down. A local Austinite will still try to convince you to move elsewhere, but this is definitely a city that will still continue to accommodate more residents as far as employment is concerned, even if the infrastructure cannot keep up.