Last week brought two large job announcements for the Austin area. Samsung announced plans to hire 300 more employees this year (click here for the full story) and eBay announced plans to fill as many as 1000 jobs here over the next ten years (click here for more details). As more and more employers hire locally, the impacts on our local job market are extremely positive.
Job growth from February 2010 to February 2011 in the Austin area numbered roughly 11,400 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The results rank the Austin metro area 15th among the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan regions. The increased jobs represent a 1.5% improvementfrom the year before. Austin is the 42nd largest metro area, yet our job performance has remained much higher.
More significantly, Austin ranks first when comparing our current employment picture to where we were at our peak. For Austin, the peak occurred in November 2008. Since that time, we experienced a drop in jobs, but have climbed back strong. We are now just 16,700 jobs shy of our peak level employment, a difference of -2.1%. Houston is -3.3% from their peak and ranks 3rd while Dallas is -3.9% from their peak level and is ranked 4th. Milwaukee is 10th on the list, but is still -7.4% from their peak, illustrating just how steep the curve drops in these rankings.
The best indication of the health of Austin’s job market is our overall 3rd place ranking for Lowest Unemployment Rates among the top 50 metropolitan areas. Our February 2011 unemployment rate was reported at 7.3%. Only Washington D.C. and Minneapolis placed higher than Austin in the latest rankings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Thanks go to Beverly Kerr of the Austin Chamber of Commerce for sharing this data with us.