KUT News

Contrary to what you may have heard, people in the country illegally can file a return. They use a special IRS-issued number called an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). But new IRS rules effective this month mean some changes for people using ITINs.

In 2010, the latest available data from the IRS, nearly 18 million people paid their taxes with ITINs.

If you're searching for work in this new year, the Labor Department's final jobs report for 2012 suggests: The trend is your friend in 2013.

The jobs outlook is actually "pretty positive," said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an employment consulting firm.

There were 155,000 jobs added to public and private payrolls in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning.

That's right in line with economists' expectations and is another sign of steady, though modest, growth in employment. In November, employers added an estimated 161,000 jobs. The average monthly gain in 2012 was 153,000 jobs, BLS says. That's the same average as in 2011.

Update at 8:40 a.m. ET. Jobless Claims Went Up; So Two Out Of Three Reports Were Positive:

There were 372,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 10,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. What's more, that previous week's total was revised up from the previous estimate of 350,000.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The number of state employees let go this year was down dramatically compared to 2011, according to a report from the State Auditor's Office. But that’s mainly because so many people lost their jobs last year, after lawmakers slashed the two-year state budget by $14 billion. 

Those cuts led to a round of government layoffs: 1,225 people lost their jobs last year as the result of a "reduction in force," the bureaucratic term used to label job cuts caused by budget reductions. This year, that number was 96. A lot of people were fired for other reasons, but the number of state employees "involuntarily" laid off still dropped by more than 15 percent compared to last year.

There were 350,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, down 12,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports. That's the lowest level since early March 2008.

The agency adds that "the 4-week moving average," which tends to smooth out some of the volatility that comes with the weekly figures, "was 356,750, a decrease of 11,250 from the previous week's revised average of 368,000."

The unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. That's a four-year low.

The economy added 146,000 jobs, beating expectations. Surprisingly the BLS said that Hurricane Sandy "did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November."

The BLS adds that employment increased "in retail trade, professional and business services, and health care."

There were 118,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in November, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

That's slower growth than in October, when ADP's employment measure grew by 157,000 jobs.

Teresa Vieira for KUT News

Midsize companies — firms with annual revenues of $10 million to $1 billion dollars — are now adding jobs at almost double the national average.

Middle market companies account for just 0.5% of all Texas businesses. But they employ 30% of the state’s workforce. Anil Makhija teaches finance at Ohio State University. He says midsized businesses are more reliable job creators than small ones.

“If you think about small firms, they do deserve our attention, because they are frequently the centers of innovation. But they have a very high failure rate.”


According to research from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, people who are transgender and/or gender non-conforming experience widespread discrimination across the country.

Now, new Texas-focused research released by Equality Texas and the Transgender Education Network of Texas shows that 79 percent of transgender Texans have reported harassment or mistreatment in the workplace.

The new research also stated that respondents identifying as transgender or gender non-conforming while in grade school (K-12) reported a physical assault rate of 46 percent.

“This report graphically demonstrates the discrimination faced by Transgender Texans,” Equality Texas interim executive director Chuck Smith says in a press release. “In our state, where the right of self-determination is so valued, it is unconscionable that anyone would be denied the ability to earn a living, to live where they choose or to be educated.


The unemployment rate in Texas saw its biggest one-month drop in nearly two decades in September.

Statewide, the jobless rate fell from 7.1 percent in August to 6.8 percent in September. That was the result of an additional 21,000 jobs.

Here in Austin, the unemployment rate fell from 5.9 percent to 5.3 percent. That rate doesn’t account for seasonal changes in employment. Still, Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson Lisa Givens says the Austin area added 3,000 jobs last month, largely in fields including education, health services and government jobs.


The national unemployment rate decreased to 7.8 percent in September. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. added 114,00 jobs last month. This means the number of unemployed in the U.S. is now 12.1 million. It's the first time this year that unemployment has fallen below 8 percent.

So what does this mean for Austin? As KUT News reported last month, Austin added 5,900 jobs in August, and local unemployment dropped to 5.9 percent, well below the national average.

But what about the already employed in Austin? According to staffing agency Robert Half International, technology professionals are expected to salary increases of about 5.3 percent. Administrative staff may see salaries rise by 3.5 percent. And accounting and finance salaries could jump 3.3 percent.

Erik Reyna for KUT News

Texas has one of the strongest economies in the nation. But in recent months the Lone Star State seems to have been outshined by the Golden State. The U.S. Labor Department reports that California has added 365,100 new jobs to its economy while Texas added 222,500.

This horse race captured the attention of The Atlantic. In a post to its website called “Why California Is Suddenly Adding Jobs Faster Than Texas,” author Jordan Weissman posits several reasons for the change:. One is growing government jobs in California versus declining government work in Texas. Another is the theory that California’s economy is primarily based on housing – which is making a slow but somewhat steady recovery.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The latest job numbers were released by the Texas Workforce Commission today, and while there's no startling news to report, there are some interesting tidbits:

  1. Texas's employment advantage may be fading. The state's unemployment rate is up to 8.5 percent from 8.2 percent a year ago, while the national unemployment rate has fallen from 9.6 percent a year ago to 9.1 percent this month.
  2. Austin had the lowest unemployment rate among the five largest cities in Texas, at 7.4 percent (same as last month, but up from 7 percent a year ago). The highest? El Paso, at 10.6 percent (up a full point from a year ago).
  3. Much of the state's job creation has come in the private sector, which added 26,500 jobs. But...
  4. The public sector is taking a beating. It lost over 11,000 jobs in September, and has shed 33,700 jobs since September last year.
  5. The highest percentage of job gains in the state came in the "Professional and Business Services" category, which includes professions like accountants, lawyers, computer engineers and the like. They're up 5.3 percent in job gains since last September.

The full release from the commission can be found here, with notes by KUT News.

Photo by Jessie Wang for KUT News

The Texas Workforce Commission puts the Central Texas jobless rate at 7.6 percent in June, up 0.8 percent over May.  Despite that, the Workforce Commission reports that 1,400 new private sector jobs were created in Austin last month. Lisa Givens, a commission spokesperson, says it's not uncommon to see both the unemployment rate and the number of newly-created jobs rise at the same time.