Recent job growth and unemployment data from the Austin Chamber of Commerce shows that Austin’s job growth numbers made it the fastest-growing major metro in the U.S. at the end of March. In the same month, home sales numbers set a monthly record for the area, which paints an optimistic picture for the local real estate market. As the local jobs market remains strong, Austin area real estate could keep its momentum and continue to strengthen.
Data from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was the fastest-growing major metro in the U.S. by the end of March. Austin added 36,800 net new jobs which represent a job growth rate of 3.6% in the 12 months ending in March 2018. The March seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Austin is 3.0%, unchanged from a month before.
Private Sector Job Growth Performance
Private sector job growth in the Austin MSA is 4.7% or 39,700 jobs for the year ending in March. All private industry divisions added jobs during that time. Conversely, Austin’s government sector saw jobs contract over the last 12 months. The Austin government sector lost 2,900 jobs or 1.6%, which brought the overall job growth rate to 3.6%.
In comparison, the state experienced net private sector job growth of 2.8%. All private industries but one added jobs over the 12 months ending in March. The government sector showed a minimal job growth rate of only 0.1% during that time, which brought the total job growth to 2.4%. Statewide, government sector employment counts for 16% of the total state employment.
Austin’s Fastest-Growing Sector
In Austin, the professional and business services industry added the most jobs in the year ending in March. The industry grew by 13,600 jobs, or 7.9%, over the 12-month period. Wholesale trade was the fastest-growing industry, with a 12.6% growth rate that represents 6,300 jobs. Additionally, transportation, warehousing and utilities showed a higher-than-usual job growth rate at 9.8% or 1,900 jobs. Construction and natural resources added 3,300 jobs, which is a 5.5% growth rate.
When comparing counties within the Austin MSA, Caldwell County had the highest unemployment rate at 4.0% while Travis County had the lowest at 3.0% at the end of March. Hays County had a 3.1% unemployment rate, Williamson County had 3.2% and Bastrop County had a 3.7% unemployment rate during the same time period.
Seasonally adjusted unemployment numbers are just as strong. In March, Austin’s unemployment rate was at 3.0%, which is unchanged from February. The statewide seasonally adjusted rate is 4.0% and the national rate is 4.1% in March, both unchanged from February. Austin’s unemployment rate was the lowest among the major metros in the state.
Throughout Texas’ major metros, San Antonio had the next lowest seasonally adjusted rate at 3.5%, Dallas and Fort Worth were at 3.6%, and Houston was at 4.7%. The rates were up from February in each metro except Fort Worth, which was unchanged. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for Texas metros are produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. According to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, the TWC also produces seasonally adjusted rates for Texas metros, but publication lags the Dallas Fed’s data.
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