Sad shutdown

Austin call center slashes more than 700 jobs amid Central Texas job market shakeup

Austin call center slashes 700 jobs amid job market shakeup

workers in an office with cubicles
Two companies are making changes to their Austin workforce. monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

There are some major shakeups happening in the Central Texas job market. More than 700 employees of a call center in Austin are losing their jobs by the end of this year. Meanwhile, a major insurance company is closing its Austin operations center and permanently shifting all of the center’s employees to work-from-home status.

In a letter to the Texas Workforce Commission dated October 29, Alorica Inc. said it’s shutting down its call center at 7401 E. Ben White Blvd. effective December 31, resulting in 712 employees being let go. The call center handles customer service inquiries on behalf of corporate clients in the financial services, automotive, and utility industries.

According to Alorica’s website, the company also operates call centers in Corpus Christi, El Paso, Humble, Sherman, San Antonio, and Universal City. Alorica has not notified the Workforce Commission that any of those locations are shutting down.

A day before Alorica sent the letter to the Texas Workforce Commission, Albuquerque Business First reported that Alorica’s call center in New Mexico is adding 400 employees by the end of 2020. The company already employs more than 650 people in Albuquerque.

Alorica spokeswoman Sunny Yu couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

In other shutdown news, insurance giant State Farm is closing its operations centers in Austin and 11 other U.S. cities, and permanently switching all of those employees to telework. The local center, at 8900 Amberglen Blvd. in Northwest Austin, handles claim processing, underwriting, marketing and public affairs.

“Most employees assigned to these locations have been working from home since March and will continue to do so,” State Farm spokeswoman Gina Morss-Fischer says.

About 500 employees are assigned to the operations center. Asked whether any of those employees will lose their jobs, Morss-Fischer says State Farm is “still determining how this closure will impact specific roles.”

State Farm won’t renew its leases at the Austin location and the 11 other sites, Morss-Fischer says. Move-out dates haven’t been finalized.

“As a company, maintaining flexibility in how and where we work is just one of the many ways we can better serve customers,” she says.

In 2013, State Farm sold its nearly 450,000-square-foot office complex in Austin for $110 million to real estate investment company W.P. Carey, which then became the insurance company’s landlord under a 15-year lease. At the time, about 1,400 State Farm employees worked there. State Farm has occupied the space since 1994.

Other tenants at the 83.5-acre office complex are Molecular Templates Inc. and SunPower Corp. The complex sits within the 263-acre Amber Oaks master-planned corporate park.