Austin unemployment continues to outshine Texas

Unemployment in Austin was 3.6 percent in July — even with the same month last year, according to numbers released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission. The Austin area's jobless rate is tied for lowest in the state with Amarillo.

The Texas capital has added roughly 40,100 jobs over the past 12 months, according to the unadjusted data. At the same time, its combined labor force grew from 1.07 million to 1.11 million.

While Austin continues to bask in an economic boom, it’s important to note that many economists consider an unemployment rate of 4-6 percent to be healthy. Lower than that and companies cannot find enough workers to fill their job openings, pushing up salaries and causing worries of inflation.

Unemployment across Texas rose to a seasonally adjusted 4.6 percent in July, up from 4.4 percent in the same month last year. Overall, 173,000 jobs were added across the state over the past year, including 23,600 jobs in July alone. The national unemployment rate was around 4.9 percent last month.

The state's rising unemployment rate was driven by job losses in the mining and logging industry sector, which includes the oil and gas producers that have been harmed by low oil prices. The mining and logging sector lost 39,400 jobs over the past year, a decrease of 15 percent. Total mining and logging employment now stands at 264,200 workers across Texas.

Manufacturing employment also dropped over the past year, losing 33,200 jobs or 3.8 percent. Overall "goods producing" industries lost 62,000 jobs, down 3.4 percent to 1.76 million jobs statewide.

The only bright spot was the construction industry, which added 10,600 jobs, up 1.6 percent year-over-year.

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