No labor pains

Austin job market earns No. 2 ranking in the U.S., bouncing back to pre-pandemic level

Austin job market earns No. 2 ranking, back to pre-pandemic level

Austin skyline
The Austin job market is booming. Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Abodo

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to hammer job markets around the country. But not Austin. In November, the Austin area and nine other major metros in the U.S. surpassed the number of jobs they had before the pandemic.

“Austin has made up all of 2020’s pandemic-related job losses and currently has 47,000 more jobs than it had in February 2020,” the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce recently reported.

From February 2020 to November 2021, the Austin area posted a job growth rate of 4.11 percent, landing the Capital City at No. 2 on the jobs list of the best-performing markets among the top 50 metros, slightly below the 4.14 percent rate for the No. 1 rated Salt Lake City area, according to the chamber’s report.

From a year-over-year perspective, Austin was also the second-best-performing job market among the top 50 metros for the month of November, following only Las Vegas.

Employers like Amazon, Dell, H-E-B, and Tesla have contributed to the Austin area’s robust job growth. In November alone, the Austin area added 11,800 jobs, following a gain of 21,000 jobs the previous month, the chamber says.

In November, the Austin area had 1,189,400 jobs, compared with 1,142,400 in February 2020, right before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. In March and April 2020, the first two months of the pandemic, the Austin area lost a combined 137,000 jobs, according to the chamber.

For February 2020 to November 2021, here are the job growth rates for Texas’ other major metro areas, according to the Austin chamber:

  • Dallas-Plano-Irving — 4.1 percent, fourth-place ranking among the 50 biggest metro areas.
  • Fort Worth-Arlington — 2.2 percent, fifth-place ranking among the 50 biggest metro areas.
  • San Antonio — 1.3 percent, ninth-place ranking among the 50 biggest metro areas.
  • Houston — negative 2 percent, 27th-place ranking among the 50 biggest metro areas.

Despite Houston’s job market not having rebounded to its pre-pandemic level, Austin-based job website Indeed recently ranked Houston one of the best U.S. cities for recent graduates seeking employment. Indeed cited opportunities in Houston sectors such as aerospace, aviation, and digital technology.