Research, Data, and Analysis Focused on Central Texas
Produced by the Capital Area Council of Governments
In January of 2016, employment in the Austin metro had grown by 4.5% year over year. By December of 2016, year over year employment growth had slowed to 3.3%. As of October 2017, year over year employment growth slowed further to 2.2%. Throughout much of 2016 and 2017, job creation in the Austin metro area remained positive, but it was steadily declining. Moreover, it was falling well short of the high rates of growth seen in previous years.
At CAPCOG, we observed this trend and decided we should dig into the data a bit more. Are we looking at the beginnings of a recession in the local economy? Are other metro areas in Texas showing similar signs of slowing down? And wouldn’t you know it – while in the midst of developing this post, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released employment figures for November 2017, and for the first time in a while, they show a strong positive uptick – up to 2.8% employment growth year over year, compared to 2.2% in October. Now, one month’s worth of data doesn’t indicate a trend, but as we look at nearly two-year’s worth of data showing slowing job growth in the Austin metro area, it’s at least encouraging to see that sharply positive movement at the end of the line.
Every year, new jobs open up, and new people are credentialed to fill those jobs. But how close is the number of vacancies to the number of applicants? It turns out in the Austin MSA, the answer depends quite a bit on the type of job you're looking for.
The interactive graphic below shows occupation gaps (i.e., the farther left on the horizontal axis, the greater the oversupply of labor) according to average wages and education needed. You can also filter results by the amount of training, experience, and education required for individual occupations. Have a look below! (And once again, dots on the left are occupations with an oversupply of labor. Dots on the right have labor shortage - a gap).
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Data Points is a blog dedicated to policy and planning issues in the Capital Area of Central Texas. It is produced by staff at the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG).