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Joblessness rises, but help is on the way

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Unemployment in Austin rose in January, though it was still lower than the statewide and national levels of joblessness, according to the latest data from the Texas Workforce Commission. The Austin-Round Rock area had a total unemployment rate of 5.4 percent in January, with 67,455 people classified as out of work and 8,200 fewer people employed than in December 2020. That figure is double the amount from January 2020 before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, during which time 31,100 jobs have disappeared locally. The statewide unemployment rate sits at 7.3 percent, while the national figure is 6.8 percent. Workforce Solutions Capital Area said two federal initiatives from the recent stimulus package – a $300 weekly increase in unemployment benefits and money for state and local governments to fund infrastructure projects – will provide needed assistance for the unemployed. “Austin is one of the fastest recovering metros in the nation and we are hopeful for our community. Still, many of our neighbors continue to weather disruption brought on by the pandemic,” said Tamara Atkinson, CEO of Workforce Solutions. “Businesses in health care, manufacturing, skilled trades and IT are hiring now, and Workforce Solutions can connect motivated job seekers to new career opportunities with local employers.”

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