Austin Unemployment Rates near Record Levels

unemploymentThe unemployment rate in Austin dropped to 7.2% in August from 7.3% in July.

However, from August of 2008 to August of 2009, the region lost 7,200 jobs or .9% of the total, the biggest decline in six years according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The unemployment rate in August of 2008 was 4.7%.

Local economist, Angelos Angelou is concerned. “I’m alarmed by these numbers. We have not had this high an unemployment rate,  these persistent negative job growth numbers. And consumers are very concerned about their future and therefore are not spending.”

900 jobs were added between July and August with (600) in retail, (300) in education and health services, (1,000) in business services, however losses in construction (-300) and (-200) in manufacturing  offset these gains (Austin Business Journal).

The senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Keith Phillips thinks that the Texas unemployment rate might remain high into 2010.

“It’s not that the recession is intensifying, it’s reflective of the cumulative magnitude of the downturn.”

Texas Workforce Commission spokesman Andres Alcantar noted that,

“Aside from job gains in financial activities (600 positions) and education and health services (5,200 positions), the employment situation in most industries was tough in August.”

Statewide the unemployment rate hit a 22 year high of 8% and during the same time period lost 62,200 jobs. Across the country, fourteen states had double digit unemployment rates with Michigan at 15.2%, and California at 12.2%.

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