Austin area job growth keeps up fast pace

The Central Texas workforce is at an all-time high of 715,900. We like to keep an eye on the job market because it directly impacts real estate activity, among other things. New jobs bring the new people who buy and rent homes in Austin. As the job market goes, so goes real estate, and things are looking good. The following article is from the Austin Statesman today.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Central Texas job picture remained healthy in May as employers kept up a brisk pace of hiring while unemployment remained low, according to figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission Friday. The five-county region that includes Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell counties had added jobs at a 3.2 percent rate in May, with the nonagricultural workforce rising to 715,900 people, a new all-time high.

The unemployment rate was 4 percent, up a tick from 3.9 percent in April but down from 4.3 percent a year ago. The state as a whole added jobs at a 2.6 percent rate and had an unemployment rate of 5.1 percent. Unlike local figures, the state numbers are seasonally adjusted for typical changes such as school employment dropping during the summer.

“The addition of jobs is often the best indicator of a healthy labor market, and Texas has shown a consistent pattern,” said Diane Rath chairwoman of the Texas Workforce Commission. “Over-the-year job growth remains broad based.”

The same is true for Central Texas. Of the region’s 10 major sectors, manufacturing is the lone industry showing declines for the year, down 200 jobs from May 2005. While government employment was down from April, as summer began, the sector is still up year over year, with 5,800 more jobs in May compared with May 2005, for a total of 157,000 workers.

The sector that includes construction is showing some of the largest gains for the year, with 2,800 more jobs than at this this time last year — a 7.1 percent increase. Meanwhile, professional and business services, which includes engineering and law firms, is up 4,000 jobs a year, a 4.3 percent gain.”

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