Bill Morris: Austin job trend strong despite dip in December

Austin job trend strong despite dip in December

I have posted a number of recent articles to, including Austin unemployment rate held steady last month, added today.

As I have noted for months, the Austin/Central Texas economy has been adding jobs while other metros were treading water or being washed backward.  Today's newspaper article indicates that we broke that trend in December 2009, but the data behind that report, released yesterday by the Texas Workforce Commission deserves a quick comment.

First, here is the graph included in the Statesman:

Austin Unemployment Graph AAS 012310

This chart requires an important note:  the "Job growth/loss rate" tracks year-over-year changes -- e.g., job growth in December 2009 compared to December 2008 -- and it does show a right-way trend since August.  Readers who don't think through what that means, however, may allow fact that that line is below zero over the past several months to obscure the additional reality that we have added jobs on a month-to-month basis for most of the past six months:



















Those figures are total non-farm employment in the Austin-Round Rock MSA, not seasonally adjusted, and they show that the number of jobs did contract by a little more than 0.1% last month -- 900 jobs out of almost 782,000.  That compares to positive job growth in November-December in several previous years. On the other hand, even that lower number last year was 13,100 jobs higher than in July.  Also note the contract between Austin's 6.9% unemployment rate and the 10%-plus national average, and the fact that Austin's rate has been stable or declining since last July.

As the American-Statesman article says, total non-farm employment in December 2009 was 2,300 jobs lower than December 2008, but recent trends and most economic forecasts (Austin employment picture remains positive) are optimistic.

Bill F. Morris, ABR, CRS, CDPE, e-PRO, MBA
RE/MAX Capital City
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Comment balloon 2 commentsBill Morris • January 23 2010 11:28AM


I think we'll see little pockets around the country starting to recover over the next year.  That's how the economy works.  Everyone expects the economy as a whole to just pull out of the duldrums, but history shows it never works like that.  First Austin's economy will grow, which will spread to Dallas, then other areas of the state, then other areas of the south and before you know it we'll have a full blown recovery on our hands.  Here's to hoping that Austin continues to grow.  Thanks for the information and best of luck to you.

Posted by Jerry Murphy, CRS, SRES, Anthem, Phoenix, and Scottsdale AZ Real Estate (Long Realty West Valley) over 10 years ago

Jerry, thanks for your comment.  You're right -- recovery has to gain traction in a few areas before confidence and spending can drive a broad recovery.  I built a couple of businesses in Arizona years ago, and know what a great place you're in.  I know real estate there has suffered over the past couple of years, but I hope you've seen the bottom and are on your way to a great 2010!

Posted by Bill Morris, ABR, CRS, CDPE, ePRO, MBA (RE/MAX Capital City) over 10 years ago