Austin’s strong job growth may be weakening, report says


Austin’s job growth was 25th best among the nation's 50 largest metro areas.   File photo

Although strong job growth numbers released Jan. 26 paint a bright picture for Austin, the nation’s fastest-growing metro area, whether the trend will continue is up for debate.

Figures provided by the Texas Workforce Commission and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are unequivocal: 18,800 jobs were added during 2016, up 1.9 percent from 2015.

High-growth sectors identified in the report are education, health services and financial activities, the release said. Seasonal unemployment checked in at just 3.2 percent, down from 4 percent for roughly the first half of 2015.

Despite the overall positive metrics, job growth seems to be slowing. For example, job 2016 job growth vs. the previous year averaged 4 percent in the first half of last year. The slowing trend started in August and persisted through December.

Austin’s growth was 25th best among the nation's 50 largest metro areas. Orlando was No. 1 at 4.2 percent, while Dallas was second -- and the only Texas city in the Top 10 -- at 3.9 percent. Other metro areas from the Lone Star state were San Antonio (2.2 percent), Fort Worth (1.8 percent) and Houston (0.5 percent).

The next round of data will be posted March 10. 

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