The Austin metro’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.9 percent in April 2016, compared to 3.1 percent in March 2016, according to the Texas Workforce Commission as reported by the Austin American-Statesman. The unemployment rate has not been lower than three percent since November 2000.
The drop was credited to a surge in tech hiring following a slow first quarter of 2016. This sector – which includes professional, scientific and technical services firms – saw an increase of 1.4 percent, which translates to 1,300 jobs. The construction sector added 1,100 jobs, over double that month’s average. Overall, employers added 4,800 jobs during April, a .5 percent increase. A loss of some workers in the labor force did contribute to the drop in the unemployment rate.
Texas has added 189, 600 jobs to its workforce over the last year, with job growth in 12 of the last 13 months. April 2016 saw the addition of 8,300 seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 4.4 percent, a .1 percent increase from March, mostly due to the energy sector. The national average is five percent.
“Texas employers added 189,600 jobs over the past year, creating opportunities for workers in a range of industries,” said Texas Workforce Commissioner Chairman Andres Alcantar. “Texas offers many competitive advantages to employers who do business in Texas, including a highly skilled workforce.”
The Amarillo area had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in April 2016, at 2.7 percent. The Austin-Round Rock area’s 2.9 percent was second lowest, and Lubbock’s three percent rate was third lowest.