Austin has the fastest rate of job growth and the second lowest unemployment rate among large U.S. metros according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Friday release of Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment for January 2014. Labor market data for Austin through January was released earlier this month by theTexas Workforce Commission and reported on in the Chamber’s March 11th “Central Texas Economy” article. However, the data for all U.S. metros that we often use to rank job growth and unemployment had yet to be released by the BLS.
Austin’s job growth of 4.5% over the 12 months ending in January seemed likely to be at or near the top and it does prove to be the fastest rate of growth among the 50 largest U.S. metros. San Jose follows at No. 2, with 4.4% job growth and Houston and Dallas also rank in the top 10. Fort Worth and San Antonio rank 15th and 22nd respectively.
Not only is Austin’s 4.5% growth fastest among the top 50 metros, it is fastest among the top 100 U.S. metros as well. Among the 100 largest metros, Austin also has the fastest rate of job growth over the last 5 years (15%) and the last 10 years (35%).
With the exception of Nashville, each of the best performing metros is located in Texas, California or Florida, and these are also the three states with the largest year-over-year job increases.
The following graph illustrates the varying contributions of each of the major industry sectors to total job growth for Austin and the next two fastest growing metros.
Labor Force, Employment & Unemployment
Austin’s unemployment rate, at 4.7% in January, is the second lowest among the top 50 metros. San Antonio, with a rate of 5.4%, is also in the top ten. Houston, Fort Worth, and Dallas rank 11th, 12th, and 13th respectively. Out of 372 U.S. metros, 367 have lower rates of unemployment than a year earlier. Among large metros, the highest rate of unemployment is the Providence, RI metro, with 10.3%. Los Angeles, Riverside, and Detroit have rates at or above 9.0%.
Austin’s labor force grew by 19,700 or 2.0% in the last twelve months, while employed grew by 30,700 or 3.3%. Jacksonville topped the 50 largest metros for both labor force and employment growth, however its unemployment rate is at 6.0%, landing it 21st in that ranking.