No wonder so many people are flocking to Austin. A new ranking by The Wall Street Journal crowns Austin the hottest job market among the country’s 53 largest metro areas.
To determine the country’s hottest and coldest labor markets, WSJ looked at five metrics for each of the 53 metro areas: average unemployment rate in 2018, labor-force participation rate in 2018, change in employment and change in labor force for the fourth quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, and change in average weekly wages from the first half of 2017 to the first half of 2018.
The metro area with the highest average ranking among the five categories was named the hottest labor market. Austin ranked second for job growth (3.5 percent) and labor-force growth (3 percent); third for labor-force participation (70.6 percent); sixth for unemployment rate (3 percent); and 12th for wage growth (4 percent), earning it the top spot.
From December 2017 to December 2018, the number of jobs in the Austin area rose 3.5 percent, according to an analysis by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. During that period, Austin ranked fourth for job growth among the country’s 50 largest metro areas.
While Austin’s robust job market demonstrates the strength of the region’s economy, it also puts pressure on employers seeking to fill jobs. Local restaurants, for instance, are struggling to find enough workers like dishwashers and cooks, as outlined in a recent article by KUT.
In its summary of Austin, WSJ cited the presence of major employers Dell Technologies, Whole Foods Market, the University of Texas, and Apple as key indicators of the city's booming job market.
Not to be overlooked, startups also are driving job growth. A study released in 2018 by the Chamber of Commerce noted startups account for a larger share of businesses in Austin than in nearly all other major U.S. metros. Of the 38,405 businesses in Austin in 2016 with paid employees, almost 40 percent had been in business less than six years, according to the study.
Dallas is the only other Texas metro area to make WSJ's top 10, taking the No. 10 spot.
Austin was followed in the ranking by San Jose, California; Salt Lake City; Boston; Orlando, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Seattle; Denver; and Dallas.