Austin’s unemployment rose from 4.9 to 5 percent in December, while Texas’s overall unemployment dropped to 6.1 percent from 7.4 percent last year.
Mark Lavergne, spokesperson for the Texas Workforce Commission, said the change in unemployment in Austin is a slight change. What is more significant, he said, was the unemployment change in Austin and Texas in the past year. Austin’s unemployment has dropped to 5 percent from 6.1 a year ago, while Texas’s unemployment rate has fallen from 7.4 percent to 6.1 in the past year.
“It is always hard to say what drives the unemployment rate,” Lavergne said. “When you really want to look at long term trends, it helps to look over a year.”
Austin’s professional and business services industry grew by 10 percent in the past year, which Lavergne said made it the fastest growing industry in Austin. That industry includes jobs like technical and scientific services and management of companies and enterprises.
“The interesting thing about that is that when you look at professional, and scientific and technical services what that tends to involve is a high degree of expertise and training,” Lavergne said. “So these are the kinds of jobs that require a certain level of advancement and they tend to be pretty good paying jobs.”
Texas added 4,100 jobs in December and 260,800 jobs in 2012. Texas is one of 22 states to report unemployment fell in December. Sixteen states reported an increase and eleven states reported no change