CyberDefenses Inc. and Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area (Rural Capital) have partnered to establish a cybersecurity training academy and apprenticeship program.  The program is part of the Texas Industry Partnership (TIP) initiative and will help up to 90 eligible participants to become cybersecurity professionals. This customized training is made possible using a $95,000 TIP grant from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and leverage funds of $95,000 from CyberDefenses Inc. The grant will benefit workers in the Rural Capital area.

To read the full article, visit:  https://www.workforcesolutionsrca.com/news/view/Workforce-Solutions-Rural-C…

The population of young professionals aged 25-44 grew by nearly 70,000 people over the last 10 years in the Rural Capital Area, reaching a total of 280,000.  Within the region, Williamson County is home to the majority of young professionals (165,000 people), followed by Hays (60,000) and Bastrop (20,000).  Hays County saw the fastest increase, growing by 59% over the last 10 years.
 
Compared to other age groups, young professionals are growing at an average pace, with older generations growing faster and younger generations growing slower over the last 10 years:
 
0-14 years: 28% growth
15-24: 31% growth
25-44: 33% growth
45-64: 42% growth
65+: 71% growth
 
Compared to the US at large, the 25 to 44-year-olds are growing four times faster than the US average for this age group (4.2% in 2017 versus 1% for the US).

For more information on Population by Age in the Rural Capital Area, visit:  https://www.ruralcapitalheadlight.com/headlight/popagedistus
 
RCA-PopulationAge25-44.png

The veteran population in the Rural Capital Area stood at 76,800 in 2017, according to estimates from the VA.  The veteran population has grown by 16% in 10 years, adding 10,600 new veterans to the regional population.

Within the region, Williamson County has the most veterans (39,800), followed by Hays (14,300) and Bastrop (8,200).  Blanco, Hays, and Williamson counties had the fastest growing populations over the last 10 years.

Click here to view the Veterans Snapshot: https://public.tableau.com/shared/XM86NZJ5Z?:display_count=yes 

Or visit the Snapshots page to download reports on all metrics:  http://ruralcapitalheadlight.com/snapshots

 

RCA-Veterans.png

The fastest growing industries in the Rural Capital Area in 2017 were Natural Resources (9% annual job growth), Construction (7%), and Leisure & Hospitality (5%).  In contrast, Information, which primarily includes media publishers, broadcasting and telecommunications services, lost 6% of its employment base.

Most new jobs created in 2017 were in Trade, Transportation & Utilities (3,000 new jobs), Leisure & Hospitality (1,900), Construction (1,600) and Government (1,600).  Over the last 5 years, most new jobs have been created in Leisure & Hospitality, Health Services, and Construction.

Click here to view interactive dashboards and to see industry growth trends by county:  http://ruralcapitalheadlight.com/headlight/empind

Now in Rural Capital Headlight, we've provided the ability to download large spreadsheets of data. Visitors can configure the data shown in the table using the dynamic drop downs and then download data in Excel format.

Click here to visit the Data Download page, which can be found in the Other menu tab.

http://ruralcapitalheadlight.com/data-download

According to the Brookings Institution, the 9-county Rural Capital Area exported $3.6 billion of goods and services to global markets in 2017.  This level was 40% / $1B higher than ten years ago.

A majority of exports were Manufactured goods ($2B in 2017).  The next largest exports were Agricultural goods ($338M), IT Services ($335M), and "Eds, Meds, and Tourism" ($262M).  The fastest growing export categories over the last ten years were Mining/Oil&Gas (+532%), General Business Services (251%), and Finance & Insurance (101%).

Within the region, Williamson and Hays counties export the most, but Bastrop County's exports grew the fastest over ten years, followed by Caldwell, Llano, and Blanco.

Click here to view the Exports Snapshot: https://public.tableau.com/shared/P2TY4K4FS?:display_count=yes

Or visit the Snapshots page to download reports on all metrics:  http://ruralcapitalheadlight.com/snapshots

The total payroll of companies located in the Rural Capital Area surpassed $14 billion in 2017, a 9% increase over 2016. Over $1.1 billion in new payroll was created in 2017.

Trade, transportation and utilities companies paid the most payroll to workers in 2017 - $3.3 billion, followed by Government ($2.2B), and Manufacturing ($1.8B).

Within the region, the highest payroll by county was in Williamson ($9B), followed by Hays ($2.6B) and Bastrop ($0.7B).

payroll

To view payroll for individual industries, visit the Snapshots page to use the interactive report.

The average salary of workers in the manufacturing industry in the Rural Capital Area was $89,000, an increase of nearly 9% in 2017, the fastest growth in the last five years.

The manufacturing industry pays by far the most of any industry in the region. The next highest salaries are in Financial Activities ($62,000) and Professional and Business Services ($62,000).

Within the region, the highest salary is in Williamson County ($115,000), followed by Burnet ($62,300) and Hays ($55,000).

Manufacturing salaries grew the fastest in Williamson County (10%), Llano (8%), Caldwell (5%) and Lee (5%).

mfgsalary

 To view salaries for individual industries, visit the Snapshots page to use the interactive report.

The average salary of workers in the Rural Capital Area was $47,800 in 2017, an increase of nearly 5% in one year, the fastest growth seen in the last five years.

Within the region, Blanco County experienced the highest growth in the last five years (27%), followed by Llano (15%) and Hays (14%).

Williamson County has the highest salaries within the region ($54,000), followed by Lee ($50,000) and Blanco ($47,000).

 salary

 To view salaries for individual industries, visit the Snapshots page to use the interactive report.

Newly released data shows that the Rural Capital Area population added 34,000 new people in 2017 to reach for the first time a population of over one million people. At a 3.5% growth rate, the Rural Capital Area population grew more than four times (4x) faster than the US population overall.

Within the region, Hays County grew its population the fastest last year (4.9%), followed by Llano County (4.2%), Williamson County (3.6%), and Caldwell County (2.9%). Five-year growth rates are led by Hays, Williamson, and Bastrop counties.

View the interactive dashboard for trends and comparisons in the Rural Capital Area and Austin metro.

 

Newly released data shows that the Rural Capital Area employment base added 11,600 new jobs in 2017 to reach 297,000 total jobs. At a 4.1% growth rate, the Rural Capital Area economy grew three times (3x) faster than the US economy.

Within the region, Blanco County grew its job base the fastest last year (7.5%), followed by Bastrop County (5.2%), Hays County (4.8%), and Williamson County (4.2%). Five-year growth rates are led by Bastrop, Hays, and Williamson counties.

View the interactive dashboard below for trends and comparisons in the Rural Capital Area and Austin metro.

 

The Rural Capital Area employs 285,000 people in a diverse range of industries. The largest industries in the RCA are:

  • Trade, Transportation, & Utilities – 23% of employment
  • Government – 17%
  • Leisure & Hospitality – 13%
  • Health Services & Private Education – 12%
  • Professional & Business Services – 10%

All industry sectors grew in the Rural Capital Area between 2006 and 2016. The fastest growing sectors during this period were Health Services & Private Education (79%), Professional and Business Services (+71% growth), and Leisure and Hospitality (+67%). These regional sectors all grew much faster than the national rates, which were 28%, 15% and 19% growth respectively.

Employment is spread roughly proportional to residency across the Rural Capital Area. Williamson County hosts the greatest number of jobs with 158,000 and 56% of regional employment. The next largest employment counties are Hays County with 22% of regional jobs and Bastrop County with 6%. Employment has grown in all counties between 2006 and 2016, but growth was greatest in Williamson County (50%), Hays County (42%), Bastrop County (36%), and Caldwell County (27%).

The Rural Capital Area economy is expected to create nearly 48,000 new jobs over the next five years (forecast by EMSI). Most new jobs will be in Healthcare (7,400), followed by Retail (7,000) and Entertainment (6,700), which includes hotels, restaurants, bars, and entertainment. Only Industrial Machinery is expected to lose jobs (-1,300).

On a percentage basis, the Rural Capital Area will grow its job base by 16.6% over the next five years, which is more than twice as fast as the US' 6.3% growth rate. Software will be the fastest growing industry in the RCA (33%), followed by Electronics manufacturing (29%) and Automotive parts manufacturing (25%).

Manufacturing industries are the most concentrated in the region - those with a per capita density much higher than the US average. Industrial Machinery and Mining (too small to show on chart) are more than 2x the concentration found in the US. Construction and Electronics Manufacturing are more than 1.5x.

Click here to download data by county, for the Rural Capital Area, and for the "RCA+Travis County region".

Bastrop County is a growing suburban county in central Texas, with a population of 82,730 people and 17,110 jobs. The county has grown faster than the U.S.: the county's population grew 18% from 2006-2016 and job base grew 36%.

The county's population growth has historically been driven by migration of people into the county: from 2006 to 2016, 77% of new population was due to domestic migration. However, migration into the county turned negative in 2012, likely due to the out-migration of families after the Bastrop fires in late 2011. Positive migration resumed from 2013-2016, more than replacing the lost population during the 2011 fires. 2,093 of the 2,525 new migrants in 2016 were domestic migrants.

Bastrop County has a diverse age range of population and is home to a large concentration of families. According to the Census, 21% of Bastrop County's population are children under 15 years of age (versus 19% for the U.S.) and 27% of county residents are between 45 and 64 years old (versus 26% for the U.S.). As a result, the county has lower concentrations of both young adults and the elderly residents than the nation.

Of the total population, 89% were born in the United States, with 11% born abroad. Of the foreign-born population, 70% are not naturalized US citizens. Bastrop County's population is 54% White, 35% Hispanic, 8% Black, and 1% Asian. The three largest ancestral groups are German, English, and Irish.

According to the Census, Bastrop County education levels trail the U.S. average: 82% of residents in 2016 had at least a high school degree and only 20% had a Bachelor's degree or higher. These educational attainment statistics are significantly lower than the U.S. average (88% high school, 31% Bachelor's). (American Community Survey, Bastrop County)

Bastrop County's median household income remained just above the national average for many years, but fell to 97% of U.S. median household income in 2012. It rose to become 102% of the national average in 2016. The percent of overall population in poverty in Bastrop County has remained slightly under national trends for most of the past decade. Between 2005 and 2015 overall population in poverty in Bastrop County rose slightly from 11.7% to 12.7%. The percentage of children in poverty in Bastrop county rose from 17.8% in 2005 to 21.7% in 2015.

 

Bastrop County's economy has performed very well over the past decade, creating new jobs every year until 2011. Bastrop County has weathered the national recession well, adding 400 jobs in 2009 and 2010, despite losing 250 in 2011. 2013 showed a positive rebound of 1,000 jobs and job growth was twice as high as the U.S. average in 2015 and 2016.

Bastrop County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 8.2% in 2010 to 3.7% in 2016. The county rate has been lower than the U.S. rate since 2006.

The largest industries in Bastrop County are:

  • Government – 24% of county employment
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 23%
  • Leisure and Hospitality – 16%
  • Health Services – 11%
  • Construction – 7%

Employment in all major industries has grown over the past 5 years except in Manufacturing and Government. Significant growth occurred in Information (+174%), Leisure and Hospitality (+60%), Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+42%), and Health Services (+43%). Manufacturing employment declined -8.5% from 2011-2016, while the U.S. gained 5.1%.

Most salaries in Bastrop remain below U.S. levels, but are gaining. Natural Resources and Mining has salaries above U.S. levels. The average salary in Bastrop County is 68% of the U.S. average and from 2011-2016 grew 8%, slower than the U.S. growth rate of 12%. The county's fastest growing salaries are in Leisure and Hospitality, Health Services & Private Education, and Manufacturing.

The Rural Capital Area attracted over 10,000 net new households in 2016 from other parts of the state and US. While most relocations were from Travis County (5,300 households), the RCA was a net gainer of households from other metros such as Houston (550), Los Angeles (310), and Dallas-Ft. Worth (250).

The RCA lost net households to very few metros, and in small numbers: San Antonio (-41 households), Ft. Collins (-36), and Charlotte (-23).

This data is from the IRS, which reports tax return flows from one county to another county, when there are 10 or more households flowing in one direction. “Households” is a proxy for tax returns. "Persons" is a proxy for reported exemptions.

Data also aggregates the impact of flows for Adjusted Gross Income. The Rural Capital Area gained nearly $800 million in net new gross income in 2016 due to household migrations.

Download a snapshot of per capita income in the Rural Capital Area by county, metro or region by clicking in the bottom-right corner below. Or, visit the Migration dashboard in Rural Capital Headlight to download individual charts.

Now in Rural Capital Headlight, we've provided the ability to download large spreadsheets of data. Visitors can configure the data shown in the table using the dynamic drop downs and then download data in Excel format.

Click here to visit the Data Download page, which can be found in the Other menu tab.

Now in Rural Capital Headlight, we've provided the ability to create color-coded heat maps of data for Rural Capital Area counties. Visitors can configure the using the dynamic drop downs and then download data in Excel format.

Click here to visit the County Map page, which can be found in the Other menu tab.

Download the full report: 2017-2018 Assessment and Identification of LEP Customers

This report provides a summary of the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) population distribution throughout the 9-county Rural Capital Workforce Development Area of Texas by using the most recently released US Census Data 1, 2, and PEIMS data for the 2016-2017 school year provided by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) 3, 4 which identifies the ‘Home Language' of school-going populations by county. The first data set from the US Census Bureau – 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates – provides information for our smaller and midsize counties (Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, and Llano) while most of the data for our largest county (Williamson) is derived from the more recent 2016 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. This second data set contains more current population estimates for our most urban county (consisting of approximately 56.1% of the entire Rural Capital Area population) and, therefore, provides a more accurate view of the dynamic areas of population within the Rural Capital Area. The English Language Learner data from TEA is intended to provide a confirmation of the primary Census data by highlighting the percentage of children in our local school districts who have a ‘Home Language' other than English. However, several of the current TEA county data sets show large changes from previous years that are likely the result of changes in reporting procedures by local school districts rather than actually changes in the local LEP population.

Recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that the per capita income of the Rural Capital Area reached $42,000 in 2016, a 16% increase from the previous 5 years (on par with US growth). Per capita income in the Rural Capital Area is 85% of the US average.

Within the Rural Capital Area, Fayette county has the highest per capita income ($48,200), followed by Blanco county ($47,400) and Llano county ($45,400). 5-year growth rates were the highest in Llano (27%), Lee (22%), and Fayette (19%) counties. Last year, per capita income grew the fastest in Williamson county (1.5%).

Download a snapshot of per capita income in the Rural Capital Area by county, metro or region by clicking in the bottom-right corner below. Or, visit the Per Capita Income dashboard in Rural Capital Headlight to download individual charts.

And, the dashboard above can be embedded in other websites. Click on the embed icon and paste the embed code into the HTML of your web page.

The unemployment rate in the Rural Capital Area has fallen steadily this decade and now stands at 3.1%. This rate is at its lowest point in 16 years (since December, 2000).

Unemployment is low across all counties in the Rural Capital Area. Blanco county has the lowest unemployment rate (2.6%) while Llano has the highest (3.5%). All unemployment rates across the region are far lower than the US average, 4.1%, which is at a 10-year low.

Download a snapshot of unemployment in the Rural Capital Area by county, metro or region by clicking in the bottom-right corner below. Or, visit the Unemployment dashboard in Rural Capital Headlight to download individual charts.

And, the dashboard above can be embedded in other websites. Click on the embed icon and paste the embed code into the HTML of your web page.

AUSTIN ⎯ The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) recently launched its rebranded web portal Texas Operation Welcome Home to better meet the employment needs of transitioning service members, recently separated veterans and military spouses. The portal includes information and web links to several employment and training initiatives for veterans and employers.

“The service members transitioning back to the civilian workforce and our Texas veterans are an extremely valuable source of talent for Texas employers,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “We are proud to provide information and resources to Texas veterans seeking opportunities in industries across Texas, as well as to the employers who benefit from their unmatched leadership and skills.”

The web portal includes online registration for the “We Hire Vets” employer recognition program that recognizes Texas employers for their commitment to hiring veterans. Through the program, employers whose workforce is composed of at least 10 percent military veterans are eligible to receive a “We Hire Vets” employer recognition decal to display on the employer's storefront as well as an electronic decal to display on the employer's website.

“We've had tremendous response from employers inquiring about and registering for the We Hire Vets program,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “With our Texas Operation Welcome Home webpage, we will continue our efforts to connect employers with veterans and their family members who are seeking employment.”

Employers interested in the “We Hire Vets” program can register online. Since the program's launch, 47 businesses have been nominated as “We Hire Vets” employers. JVIC Catalyst Services LLC is a “We Hire Vets” participant and recently extended 36 job offers to veterans. Starting wages for the jobs are $23 an hour.

“With veterans, you don't have to worry about the little things. They are on time, where they are supposed to be, and bring all necessary tools ready to work,” said JVIC Catalyst Services Health and Safety Member Kevin D. Palmer.” “It's ingrained within them in the military, and you generally don't get that right off the bat with the civilian population.”

“Our veterans are ready to work, and it's important to ensure their access to readily available employment information on our websites,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “We're extremely grateful of our veterans and their service and welcome the opportunity to help them transfer their skills into the civilian workforce.”

In addition to “We Hire Vets,” other programs and initiatives for veteran employment featured on the rebranded web portal include:

• Texas Skills to Work — Assists service members by translating military experience into civilian terms and skill sets. After translation, it matches the civilian skill set with online job postings requiring those same skills. • Skills for Transition — Provides training opportunities to transitioning military service members who are preparing to separate from service within 180 days who will remain in Texas or who have been discharged within the past 180 days. The training is for employment in high-growth, high-demand occupations. • Military Family Support Pilot Program — Provides $1 million in grants to fund employment assistance for military spouses including enhanced job search assistance, assessment of skills, labor market information, and résumé writing and interview skills assistance.

For more information on the Texas Operation Welcome Home web portal and the “We Hire Vets” program, visit www.texasoperationwelcomehome.com.

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The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org. To receive notifications about TWC programs and services subscribe to our email updates.

Texas Workforce Commission - Equal Opportunity Employer/Program Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Relay Texas: 800-735-2988 (TDD) or 711 (Voice)

Workforce Solutions–Rural Capital Area's career planning website has now been updated to reflect the latest forecasts and skills demand:

http://www.RuralCapitalCareers.com

This one-of-a-kind tool provides 24/7-access to career information for students, parents, career counselors and adult workers seeking new careers. It helps users identify careers in the Rural Capital Area, the skills required for those careers, and the available college and training programs for each career. An Interests Survey matches careers to users' abilities, desired work tasks, and planned educational attainment level. Employment data and forecasts show job demand by county and region.

Please visit http://www.RuralCapitalCareers.com and create your FREE account.

 

The just-released Hot Careers list for the Rural Capital Area highlight the high growth, high wage occupations for Bachelor's and Associate's degree holders.

At the top of the list for Bachelor's degree holders are Chief Executives, who earn over $80 per hour. These high-wage careers take many years climbing the corporate ladder and gaining the experience necessary to run a company. A formal education is just the tip of the iceberg – be prepared to work hard.

Architectural & Engineering Managers and Computer & Information System Managers are also top on the list. In fact, managerial positions dominate the Top 15 list, accounting for more than half of the highest paying jobs. Becoming a manager requires a diverse set of skills such as team building, public speaking, problem solving, strategy and even cross-cultural understanding. Being well-educated means also developing these important skills outside of the classroom.

Computer-related occupations and Engineers also feature prominently in the Top 15 list. Computer Hardware Engineer is the highest paying, non-managerial occupation on the list, while Software Developers will be in highest demand with 519 job openings in the Rural Capital Area.

Eight of the Top 15 occupations are STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology or Math) occupations. The rest belong to the Business, Finance, Back Office or Production sectors.

At the Associate's degree level, the hottest careers in the Rural Capital Area are Drafters, Web Developers, and Dental Hygienists.

Drafters earn more than $35 per hour, will grow 20% from 2017-2022, but have limited job openings. Preschool Teachers will have the most job openings of any career on the Top 15 list.

Medical occupations make up eight of the Top 15 for Associate's degree holders. Engineering jobs account for three of the Top 15. Almost 90% of the Top 15 are STEM occupations.

Three hot careers outside of the Medical and Engineering sectors are Web Developers, Paralegals & Legal Assistants, and Preschool Teachers. These occupations are expecting strong growth over the next few years and have high earning potential.

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. In the age of information and technology, the demand for skilled STEM workers continues to increase. STEM occupations account for more than half of the Top 15 highest paying hot careers for Bachelor's degree holders and nearly 90% of the Top 15 highest paying hot careers for Associate's degree holders.

Registered Nurses are the hottest STEM occupation by a large margin. At 1,200 job openings, no other STEM occupation comes close to matching the level of demand for Registered Nurses in the Rural Capital Area. Computer-related occupations hold 5 of the Top 15 Hottest Career spots with Software Application Developers (519 jobs), Software Systems Developers (491 jobs), and Computer Analysts (427 jobs) having the highest demand.

The highest paying STEM occupation is Physicians & Surgeons, earning $113 per hour on average. However, this occupation requires a doctoral degree, so dedication and many years of studying are essential for this hot career. Seven of the Top 15 STEM occupations require at least a Bachelor's degree. Some notable exceptions are Pharmacy Technicians and Machinists which require only a High School Diploma, though some training is preferred. The average hourly wage for these occupations are $14.48 and $18.50, respectively.

The Mechanic and Construction sectors dominate the Top 15 list for Trades, Installers, & Repair Technicians with 14 of the Top 15 occupations. The hottest careers in Trades, based on the number of job openings, are Maintenance & Repair Workers, Automotive Techs and Equipment Operators. These three occupations will each have more than 350 job openings and 15% growth or higher over the next five years.

The highest paying Trade occupations in the Top 15 are Power-Line Installers ($26 per hour) and Industrial Machinery Mechanics ($25 per hour), with Power-Line Installers also the fastest growing at 26%.

Most Trades occupations require only a High School Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, which makes them great occupations for those looking to be in high demand without spending a lot of time or money in a classroom setting.

Texas Workforce Commission

AUSTIN ⎯ The Texas economy expanded in May with the addition of 14,800 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs. Texas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent, down from 5.0 percent in April.

“Texas employers created 266,600 jobs over the past year and the Texas economy continues to provide competitive advantages to large and small business owners across the state,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “TWC remains committed to fostering innovative partnerships that equip Texas students and workers with in-demand skills.”

Mining and Logging recorded the largest private-industry gain over the month with 6,600 jobs added. Construction employment grew by 3,400 jobs in May and Financial Activities employment expanded by 3,200 jobs.

“Employers in Texas have created more than 233,200 private-sector jobs over the year, including 11,100 jobs in May,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth Hughs. “We want to ensure all Texas employers have the resources they need to continue to grow their businesses, and I encourage employers to take advantage of the TWC programs we offer to help them create jobs and train workers with the skills needed for today's job market.”

The Amarillo Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) recorded the month's lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 3.1 percent, followed by the Austin-Round Rock, College Station-Bryan and Lubbock MSAs with a rate of 3.2 percent. The Midland MSA registered a rate of 3.4 percent for May.

“All Goods Producing industries showed positive employment growth in Texas, including Manufacturing, which expanded by 1,800 jobs in May,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “I encourage our labor force to tap into TWC's training resources like our apprenticeship training program that can help prepare them for a well-paying career.”

An audio download with comments from Commissioner Alvarez on the latest labor market data is available on the TWC press release page. Employment estimates released by TWC are produced in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. All estimates are subject to revision. To access this and more employment data, visit tracer2.com.

According to recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Rural Capital Area's employment base grew 4.3% in 2016, creating 12,000 new jobs.

Within the Rural Capital Area, most new jobs were created in Williamson County (7,500 new jobs), followed by Hays County (3,200 new jobs). On a percentage basis, job growth was highest in Hays County (5.3%), Williamson County (5.0%) and Bastrop County (4.8%).

According to recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Industry led growth in the Rural Capital Area last year. The Health Services & Priv. Education & Construction Industries followed.

Click here for a description of the industries.

Information grew fastest in Bastrop and Williamson counties. Health Services & Priv. Education led growth in Burnet and Lee Counties, while Construction grew fastest in Fayette and Hays counties. Professional and Business Services led growth in Blanco County. Leisure and Hospitality grew fastest in Caldwell county and Financial Activities led growth in Llano County.

In terms of the new jobs created, Health Services & Priv. Education created the most jobs in the Rural Capital Area overall and in Bastrop, Burnet, Lee and Williamson counties individually. Construction created the most new jobs in Fayette and Hays Counties, while Other Services in Blanco county. Leisure & Hospitality created the most jobs in Caldwell county. Financial Activities led job creation in Llano County.

Interactive Table:

Data from the Internal Revenue Service reports which counties outside of the Rural Capital Area account for the highest number of household relocations to the region. The IRS-reported number of tax returns acts as a proxy for households.

Most of the households moving to the Rural Capital Area (net inflows and outflows) are from Travis County (2,700 households). Harris County-TX (140 households), Los Angeles County-CA (120) and Cook County-IL (90) follow.

The most popular destinations for households moving out of the Rural Capital Area are Tarrant County-TX (-34 households), Wake County-NC (-26), Brazos County-TX (-25) and Fort Bend County-TX (-22).

In 2015, 5,100 households (tax returns) moved from one county to another county within the Rural Capital Area. The three counties that received the most households were Williamson County (603 new households), Hays County (598) and Bastrop County (372). The three counties that lost the most households were Williamson County (656), Hays County (604) and Bastrop County (367).

 

Generally speaking, the in- and out-flows balance out for most counties. But, some counties gain more than they lose. In terms of net migration (households relocating in minus those relocating out), Lee County gained the most new households (50), followed by Burnet County (22) and Caldwell County (8). Williamson County lost a net of 53 households to other counties in the Rural Capital Area.

In addition to Williamson County, Fayette, Hays, Llano and Blanco counties lost more households than they gained. The rest of the counties saw positive net migration from within the Rural Capital Area.

 

Salaries in the Rural Capital Area are below U.S. levels in all industries except Trade, Transportation, & Utilities and Manufacturing.

The average salary in the Rural Capital Area is 86% of the U.S. average and from 2010-2015 grew 17%, while the U.S. growth was 13%.

Salaries in seven sectors grew faster than the national rate during this period:

• Manufacturing – 81% growth • Professional and Business Services – 32% • Natural Resource and Mining – 21% • Construction – 21% • Financial Activities – 20% • Leisure and Hospitality – 16% • Health Services and Private Education – 10%

No salaries declined from 2010-2015 in either the United States or the Rural Capital Area. A significant portion of regional salary declines occurred between 2000 and 2003 during the tech bubble crunch. From 2005 to 2015, average salary growth has roughly matched U.S. growth with slight salary drops in 2009 and 2013 of 1.1% and 1.0% respectively.

Per Capita Income in the Rural Capital Area has remained below the U.S. average for the past 10 years, reaching 86% of U.S. Per Capita Income in 2015. As with Salary Levels, Per Capita Income saw regional declines in 2001 and 2002, but otherwise roughly matched U.S. growth trends between 2005 and 2015, including a decline of 4% in 2009.

Median Household Income in the Rural Capital Area remained above U.S. levels during the past decade, reaching 123% of U.S. Median Household Income in 2015. Regional Median Household Income levels were not as greatly affected by the tech crunch in the early 2000s as Per Capita Income and have also grown at a similar rate to the U.S. as a whole. Rural Capital Area Median Household Income declined by 2.3% in 2009, less than the U.S. Median Household Income drop of 3.5%.

The Rural Capital Area has much lower poverty levels than the U.S. as a whole, particularly for those aged under 18. Between 2005 and 2015, poverty levels increased slightly in the Rural Capital Area for all ages, rising from 9.5% in poverty in 2005 to 9.8% in poverty in 2015, less than the U.S. level of 14.7% in 2015. The regional percentage of children in poverty also increased during this same period, rising from 12.5% of children in poverty in 2005 to 12.8% in poverty in 2015, compared to 20.7% of children in poverty in the U.S.

Recently released data from the US Census Bureau reveals that the Rural Capital Area population grew 3.8% in 2016 (July 2015 to July 2016). The total population increased by 36,000 people to total 977,000.

Domestic migration was the primary source of growth last year. On a net basis, more than 29,000 people relocated to the region in 2016, around 1,000 more people than the year before. Every day, 75 people relocate to the Rural Capital Area.

Within the region, Hays County experienced the fastest rate of growth (5.1%), followed by Williamson County (4.1%) and Bastrop County (3.1%). On an absolute basis, Williamson County added the most new residents (20,700) followed by Hays County (9,900).

The following article was written by the Texas Workforce Commission.

Click here to read the article on the Workforce Solutions website.

AUSTIN - Texas employers expanded their payrolls in January with the addition of 51,300 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs. Texas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.8 percent.

“Texas employers and our talented workforce started 2017 on a high note with the addition of 51,300 jobs in January,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Andres Alcantar. “Employers in a diverse range of industries have added 225,300 jobs over the year, a reflection of the many competitive advantages Texas offers to employers, including a strong business climate and an expanding and highly skilled workforce.”

The Professional and Business Services industry recorded the largest private-industry employment gain over the month with 14,000 jobs added. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities employment grew by 8,100 jobs in January, and Manufacturing employment expanded by 7,300 jobs.

“Private-sector employment was strong over the year with an increase in overall jobs of 183,100, and 45,900 jobs added in January,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “Texas employers continue to strengthen the job market by expanding employment and training opportunities.”

The Amarillo and Lubbock Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) recorded the month's lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 3.4 percent, followed by the Austin-Round Rock MSA with a rate of 3.5 percent for January.

“Our economy continues to offer many diverse opportunities to job seekers,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “I encourage all job seekers to contact their local Workforce Solutions office for assistance with job training, placement and other specialized employment services.”

Recently released data from the US Census Bureau reveals that the Rural Capital Area recorded 11,700 births in 2016 (July 2015 to July 2016), an increase of 2.8% over the previous year. The birth rate for the region is 12.3 births per 1,000 people.

Within the Rural Capital Area, Bastrop County has the highest birth rate (13.1 births per 1,000 people). Caldwell County (13.0), Lee County (12.9), Williamson County (12.5) and Hays County (12.5) follow.

The counties with the lowest birth rates are Llano (8.6) and Blanco (8.7).

All counties saw an increase in births in 2016. The counties where births grew fastest were Hays County (4.1%), Bastrop County (3.5%) and Williamson County (2.8%).

The number of births is growing faster in the Rural Capital Area than in Travis County (2.8% vs. 1.1%), though, when combined, the RCA + Travis County region has a higher birth rate (13.2 vs. 12.3) – a result of Travis County's high birth rate (13.8).

Williamson County is the most populous suburban county in the Austin metropolitan area, with a population of 508,500 people and 150,800 jobs. The county has grown much faster than the metro and U.S.: the population grew 53% from 2005-2015 and job base grew 49%.

The county's population growth is primarily due to the migration of people into the county. Domestic migration increased over the past five years, rising to 13,950 people in 2015.

Williamson County has a diverse age range of population, and is home to a large concentration of families. According to the Census, 22% of Williamson County's population are children under 15 years of age (versus 19% for the U.S.) and 24% of county residents are between 45 and 64 years old (versus 26% for the U.S.).

As a result, the county has lower concentrations of both young adults and the elderly residents than the nation. Of the total population, 86% were born in the United States, with 14% born abroad. Of the foreign-born population, 51% are not naturalized US citizens.

Williamson County's population is 61% White, 24% Hispanic, 6% Black, and 6% Asian. The three largest ancestral groups are German, English, and Irish.

According to estimates from the Census, Williamson County is well-educated: 93% of residents have at least a high school degree and 40% have a Bachelor's degree or higher. These educational attainment statistics are significantly higher than the U.S. average (89% high school, 30% Bachelor's). (American Community Survey, Williamson County)

Williamson County's median household income has remained above the national average for many years, and was 141% of U.S. median household income in 2014.

The county weathered the recession well, losing jobs in 2009 but gaining 51,800 new jobs from 2010-2015.

The percent of overall population in poverty in Williamson County has also remained significantly below national trends over the past decade. Between 2010 and 2015 overall population in poverty in Williamson County rose marginally from 6.0% to 6.6%. The percentage of children in poverty grew from 8.2% in 2010 to 8.7% in 2015.

The Williamson County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 7.3% in 2009 to 3.5% in 2015. The county rate has been consistently lower than the U.S. rate.

The largest industries in Williamson County are:

• Trade, Transportation, & Utilities – 24% of county employment • Government – 15% • Leisure & Hospitality -13% • Professional & Business Services – 12% • Health Services – 11%

Employment increased for all Williamson County industries between 2010 and 2015. The average increase was 25%, while the national average employment increase was 9%.

The average salary in Williamson County is 97% of the U.S. average and from 2010-2015 grew 18%, higher than the U.S. growth rate of 13%.

Two industries in the county have average salaries above the U.S. average: Trade, Transportation, and Utilities and Manufacturing. The county's fastest growing salaries are in Manufacturing and Professional and Business Services.

The Rural Capital Area (RCA) is a nine county region with a population of 943,000 in central Texas surrounding Austin, the state capital.

The RCA has grown more rapidly than the U.S. for the past decade, growing 41%. The regional population growth rate reached its lowest level in 2012 at 2.4%, still over three times the U.S. rate of growth.

The RCA's population growth has historically been driven by migration of people from across the U.S.: in the last decade, 73% of new population was due to domestic migration. Migration has increased in recent years and outpaces births: in 2015 28,000 people moved to the Rural Capital Area and 11,400 births occurred.

Williamson County is the most populous county in the Rural Capital Area with 54% of residents, followed by Hays County (21%), Bastrop County (9%), Burnet County (5%), and Caldwell County (4%). Population has grown in all regional counties over the past decade, but was highest in Williamson County and Hays County, where the number of residents grew 53% in both counties.

The Rural Capital Area population is spread fairly evenly across age groups and has seen significant growth in the past decade in the youth and middle-aged population. In 2015, 21% of the RCA's population were children under 15 years of age, 21% were youth aged 15 to 29, 21% were aged 30 to 44, and 19% were 45-59. Over the past decade, the 65-69 year age cohort was the fastest growing in the region, increasing 115% as the children and youth populations each grew about half as fast. The slowest relative regional growth was in those aged 0-4.

The Rural Capital Area's population is 60% White, 28% Hispanic, 5% Black, and 4% Asian.

Hays County is a populous suburban county in the Austin metropolitan area, with a population of 194,700 people and 60,700 jobs. The county has grown faster than the metro and the U.S.: the population grew 53% from 2005-2015 with the job base growing 48%.

The county's population growth is primarily due to the migration of people into the county. Migration has increased in recent years going from 3,500 people in 2011 to over 8,100 in 2015.

Hays County has a younger population with a high concentration of families and college students. According to the Census, 19% of Hays County's population are children under 15 years of age and 22% of county residents are young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 years old (versus 14% for the U.S.). As a result, the county has lower concentrations of adults between the ages of 45-64 and elderly residents. Of the total population, 90% were born in the United States, with 10% born abroad. Of the foreign-born population, 69% are not naturalized US citizens.

Hays County's population is 55% White, 38% Hispanic, 4% Black, and 1% Asian. The three largest ancestral groups are German, English, and Irish.

According to the Census, Hays County is well-educated: 90% of residents had at least a high school degree and 36% had a Bachelor's degree or higher. These educational attainment statistics are higher than the U.S. average (89% high school, 30% Bachelor's). (American Community Survey, Hays County)

Hays County's median household income has remained above the national average for most of the past decade, and was 110% of U.S. median household income in 2014.

The percent of overall population in poverty in Hays County has fluctuated around the national level for the past decade but was 1% lower than the average in 2015. Between 2005 and 2015, poverty in Hays County rose to a peak of 19% in 2009 and then fell to 14% in 2015.

Hays County's economy has performed well over the past decade, creating new jobs every year except 2008. Hays County has weathered the national recession well, only losing 1000 jobs in 2008 and adding over 13,900 from 2009 to 2015.

The Hays County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 7.0% in 2010 to 3.4% in 2015. The county rate has been consistently lower than the U.S. rate.

The largest industries in Hays County are:

• Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 25% of county employment • Government– 20% • Leisure and Hospitality– 14% • Health Services – 11% • Professional and Business Services– 8%

Hays County industries have grown 25% on average over the last 5 years, the U.S. grew 9%. Employment has grown over the past 5 years in all Hays County industries except Natural Resources and Mining. Significant growth occurred in Construction (+67%), and Financial Activities (+42%).

Other Hays County industries that have grown significantly in comparison to the U.S. are Professional and Business Services, Health Services and Education, Leisure and Hospitality, Information and and Trade, Transportation and Utilities.

The average salary in Hays County is 71% of the U.S. average and from 2010 – 2015 grew 17%, which was more than the US growth of 13%.

No individual industry in the county had a larger salary than the U.S. average. The county's fastest growing salaries are in Natural Resources and Mining, Other Services, Professional and Business Services.

The Rural Capital Area employs 273,000 people in a diverse range of industries.

The largest industries in the RCA are:

• Trade, Transportation, & Utilities – 24% of employment • Government – 17% • Leisure & Hospitality – 13% • Health Services – 11% • Professional & Business Services – 10%

All industry sectors grew in the Rural Capital Area between 2005 and 2015. The fastest growing sectors during this period were Professional and Business Services (+87% growth), Leisure and Hospitality (+70%), and Health Services (+67%). These regional sectors all grew faster than the national rates, which were 17%, 19% and 28% growth respectively.

Employment is spread roughly proportional to residency across the Rural Capital Area. Williamson County hosts the greatest number of jobs with 151,000 and 55% of regional employment. The next largest employment counties are Hays County with 22% of regional jobs and Bastrop County with 6%. Employment has grown in all counties between 2005 and 2015, but growth was greatest in Williamson County (50%), Hays County (48%), Bastrop County (35%), and Lee County (35%).

The Rural Capital Area has an overall population of 943,000 people and 273,000 jobs. The area has grown faster than the U.S.: the population grew 41% from 2005-2015 and job base grew 42%. The area's population growth is primarily due to the migration of people into the area: over the past decade, 73% of new population was due to domestic migration. Migration into the area declined from 2007-2012, before increasing again from 2013-2015.

The Rural Capital Area's population is 60% White, 28% Hispanic, 5% Black, and 4% Asian. The Rural Capital Area has a relatively younger population with a high concentration of families.

According to the Census, 21% of the Rural Capital Area's population is children under 15 years old (versus 19% for the U.S.) and 28% of area residents are between the ages of 25 and 44 years old (versus 26% for the U.S.). As a result, the area has a lower concentration of residents over the age of 45.

The Rural Capital Area's median household income has consistently been higher than the national average for the past decade and was 123% of the U.S. level in 2015.

The percent of overall population in poverty in the Rural Capital Area has remained under national trends over the past decade. Between 2010 and 2015 overall population in poverty in the Rural Capital Area fell from 11.1% to 9.8%. The percentage of children in poverty fell more rapidly than the region, going from 14.8% in 2010 to 12.8% in 2015.

The Rural Capital Area's economy has performed very well over the past decade, creating new jobs every year except one. The Rural Capital Area has weathered the recession well, losing just 2,300 jobs in 2009 and adding 52,000 jobs from 2010 to 2015.

The Rural Capital Area unemployment rate has fallen from a peak of 7.3% in 2010 to 3.5% in 2015. The area rate has been consistently lower than the U.S. rate.

The largest industries in the Rural Capital Area are:

• Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 24% of area employment • Government– 17% • Leisure and Hospitality – 13% • Health Services – 11% • Professional and Business Services– 10%

Employment in all major industries has grown over the past 5 years except Government. Significant growth occurred in Manufacturing (+59%), Health Services and Private Education (+39%), Construction (+34%), Leisure and Hospitality (+32%) and Professional and Business Services (+31%).

Government employment declined 1% from 2010-2015, a smaller decline than the U.S. loss of 2%.

The average salary in the Rural Capital Area is 86% of the U.S. average and from 2010-2015 grew 17%, which was faster than the U.S. growth rate of 13%.

The industries in the area with a larger average salary than the U.S. average are Manufacturing and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities. The area's fastest growing salaries are in Manufacturing, Professional and Business Services, Natural Resources and Mining, Construction and Financial Activities.

 

In the early 2000s, unemployment in the Rural Capital Area (RCA) matched national unemployment rates, but since 2007 and through the recession, unemployment in the RCA has remained significantly lower than the U.S. Regional unemployment peaked in 2010 at 7.3%, well below U.S. unemployment of 9.6% in the same year.

In addition to the existing educated workforce, the Rural Capital Area has a rising number of residents in the workforce pipeline through the community college system. Enrollment in the Austin Community College system grew consistently through 2012 to reach a graduation level of 2,600 students. Student graduation levels fell 5% in 2013 but rose again by 7% in 2014 and 8% in 2015 to reach a peak of 2,900.

During the same period, enrollment at the University of Texas at Austin dropped from 55,000 in 2005 to 53,000 in 2009. Enrollment levels have rebounded to 55,000 students.

Graduation levels at the University of Texas are at an all-time high. In 2015, UT graduated 15,400 students, about 2,300 more than graduated ten years earlier. As one of the nation's top public schools producing thousands of graduates a year, the University of Texas remains a significant source of educated workers for Austin and the Rural Capital Area.

In 2017, nearly all industry clusters in the Rural Capital Area are projected to experience employment gains. Total employment is forecast to grow 4.3% this year, according to projections from national data provider EMSI. Transport & Logistics is expected to be the single fastest growing industry cluster in the region, rising 7.1% in 2017. Utilities, Educational Services and Manufacturing are also projected to support strong job growth at 6.8%, 6.5% and 6.2%, respectively. Additional sources of job growth include industries such as Professional Services (6.1% growth), Natural Resources (5.4%), and Health Care (5.1%).

Due to their relatively large size, many slower growing industry clusters are projected to create the largest number of new jobs within the Rural Capital Area in 2017. Government employment is expected to increase by more than 2,000 jobs this year. Retail and Food & Lodging are also expected to create a significant number of jobs within the Rural Capital Area, at 1,700 and 1,600, respectively. Both Health Care and Manufacturing clusters are projected to create more than 1,200 jobs each.

The Rural Capital Area can expect to see continued broad growth across a diverse set of industries in 2017. The chart below shows the relative employment base, 5-year growth forecast and location quotient for the large industry clusters in the region.

All clusters will post strong growth over the next 5 years with Electronics (32% growth) and Research (31%) experiencing the highest growth. Industry clusters with a high concentration (high location quotient) in comparison to the U.S. will also see strong growth. These strong, advancing industries include some of the industries with the most employment in the region; Industrial Machinery, Electronics, Construction and Retail.

Looking at these industries in more detail we can see that Computer Manufacturing will grow the most at 50%. Mining Support (33%), School Transportation (32%) and Office Administration Services (31%) follow.

The Local Government is expected to create the most new jobs between 2016 and 2021, with Local Government Schools & Hospitals (4,800 jobs) at the top of the chart. Restaurants (4,500 jobs) and Computer Manufacturing (2,300 jobs) follow.

This strong growth indicates a bright economic future for the Rural Capital Area over the next five years and beyond.

In 2017, nearly all occupation clusters in the Rural Capital Area are projected to experience employment gains. Total employment is forecast to grow 4.3% this year, according to projections from national data provider EMSI. Social Sciences is expected to be the single fastest growing occupation cluster in the region, rising 5.5% in 2017. Engineering, Social Services and Computer & Math are also projected to support strong job growth at 5.4%, 5.4% and 5.3%, respectively. Additional sources of job growth include occupation clusters such as Education (5.2% growth), Legal (5.0%), Health Support (5.0%) and Health Care (5.0%).

Due to their relatively large size, many slower growing occupation clusters are projected to create the largest number of new jobs within the Rural Capital Area in 2017. Office Administration employment is expected to increase by more than 1,600 jobs this year. Food Preparation & Serving and Sales are also expected to create a significant number of jobs within the Rural Capital Area, at 1,500 and 1,400, respectively. Both Education and Transport & Logistics clusters are projected to create more than 600 jobs each.

The Rural Capital Area can expect to see continued broad growth across a diverse set of occupations in 2017. The chart below shows the relative employment base, 5-year growth forecast and location quotient for the large occupation clusters in the region.

All clusters will post strong growth over the next 5 years with Geology (26% growth) and Education (20%) experiencing the highest growth. Occupation clusters with a high concentration (high location quotient) in comparison to the U.S. will also see strong growth. These strong, advancing occupations include; Geology, Construction, Computer and Personal Services.

Looking at these occupations in more detail we can see that Software Engineers will grow the most at 27%. Home Health Aides (23%), Bus Drivers (23%) and Teacher Assistants (23%) follow.

 

Retail and Food Services are expected to create the most new jobs between 2016 and 2021, with Retail Salespersons (2,200 jobs) at the top of the chart. Food Preparation & Serving (1,600 jobs) and Waiters and Waitresses (1,000 jobs) follow.

This strong growth indicates a bright economic future for the Rural Capital Area over the next five years and beyond.

The following article was written by Pew Research Center & The Markle Foundation.

Click here to read the article on the Workforce Solutions website.

A changing economic landscape is driving significant shifts in the American workplace. Employment opportunities increasingly lie in jobs requiring higher-level social or analytical skills, while physical or manual skills are fading in importance, according to a new Pew Research Center report issued in association with the Markle Foundation.

Not coincidentally, an analysis of government jobs data finds that employment is rising faster in jobs calling for greater preparation. The number of workers in occupations requiring average to above-average education, training and experience increased 68% from 1980 to 2015. This was more than double the 31% increase in employment in jobs requiring below-average education, training and experience.

For their part, the vast majority of U.S. workers say that new skills and training may hold the key to their future job success. New survey data find that 54% of adults in the labor force say it will be essential for them to get training and develop new skills throughout their work life in order to keep up with changes in the workplace, and another 33% say it will be important to do so. Workers are acting on this belief, with 45% saying they've taken a class or received training in the past year to learn, maintain or improve their work skills.

Americans believe the responsibility for preparing and succeeding in today's workforce starts with individuals themselves. Roughly seven-in-ten (72%) say that individuals have “a lot” of responsibility to make sure workers have the right skills and education to be successful, while 60% believe public K-12 schools should bear a lot of responsibility for this. Smaller shares say colleges and universities (52%), employers (49%), state governments (40%) and the federal government (35%) should have a lot of responsibility.

A majority of Americans (65%) say that good jobs are difficult to find where they live, but views of the situation have improved since the height of the Great Recession. However, on the whole, American workers are generally satisfied with their own jobs: 49% of American workers say they are very satisfied with their current job, while three-in-ten are somewhat satisfied. And most Americans overall feel their own jobs are secure; 60% of employed Americans say it is not at all likely that they will lose their job or be laid off in the next 12 months.

The earnings of workers overall have stagnated since 1980, lagging behind gains in labor productivity. Moreover, smaller shares of workers received health or retirement benefits from their employers in 2015 than did in 1980. More recently, alternative employment arrangements, such as contract work, on-call work and temporary help agencies, appear to be on the rise.

As they look at the future, large numbers of Americans believe the demands on workers will intensify and job security will diminish in the coming 20 to 30 years. Roughly seven-in-ten Americans (71%) say that workers will have to improve their skills more often in the future in order to keep up with job-related developments. About half (51%) think there will be less job security in 20 to 30 years, and a plurality (44%) believes employee benefits will not be as good in the future. When it comes to worker loyalty, 43% say employees will show less loyalty to their employers in the future, while an identical share believe the current levels of loyalty will prevail.

The new report, based on an analysis of Department of Labor and Current Population Survey data and a national survey conducted May 25-June 29, 2016, among 5,006 adults (including 3,096 employed adults), examines trends in the labor market and how they are playing out in the lives of American workers.

Among the findings:

• Americans see outsourcing jobs and imports of foreign goods as the greatest harms to U.S. workers, but they believe exporting more U.S. products abroad helps U.S. workers. As they assess the factors that may be hurting U.S. workers, 80% say outsourcing hurts American workers, and 77% say the same about more foreign-made products being sold in the U.S. Many also cite the increased use of contract and temporary workers (57%) and the decline of union membership (49%) as harmful factors. The impact of immigrants and automation draw more evenly divided verdicts. On the other end of the spectrum, majorities think exports of U.S.-made products (68%) and work-enhancing technology such as the internet and email (70%) help U.S. workers.

• Americans are less worried about immigrants' impact on jobs than they were a decade ago. Today, 45% of adults say that the growing number of immigrants working in the U.S. hurts workers, and 42% say having more immigrants helps workers. This is a noteworthy change from 2006, when there was a nearly two-to-one view that the growing number of immigrants hurts U.S. workers (55% vs. 28% who said immigrants help workers). Democrats, blacks and those with less than a high school diploma are all notably more likely now than in 2006 to think the growing number of immigrants helps workers.

• The shifting demand for skills in the modern workplace may be working to the benefit of women. Women, who represent 47% of the overall workforce, make up the majority of workers in jobs where social or analytical skills are relatively more important. Wages are rising much faster in those jobs, which has likely contributed to the shrinking of the gender pay gap from 1980 to 2015.

• People have been staying at their jobs longer in recent years. In 2014, about half of workers (51%) had worked for their current employer five years or more, compared with 46% of workers in 1996.

• Educational attainment is a clear and consistent marker when it comes to feelings about job security and future prospects. While 39% of those without a high school education say it is very or fairly likely they may be laid off in the next 12 months, only 7% of those with a bachelor's degree or more say the same. Those with lower levels of education also are more likely to feel their current skills are insufficient for career advancement and to think there are not good jobs locally.

• Americans have somewhat mixed attitudes about the effectiveness of traditional higher education institutions. While many college graduates describe their own experience as having a positive impact on their personal and professional development, just 16% of all Americans think that a four-year degree prepares students “very well” for a well-paying job in today's economy. An additional 51% say this type of degree prepares students “somewhat well” for the workplace.

You can read the report online at https://www.markle.org/stateofamericanjobs or http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/10/06/the-state-of-american-jobs.

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Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. The Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. Subscribe to the Center's daily and weekly email newsletters or follow its Fact Tank blog.

The Markle Foundation works to realize the potential of information technology as a breakthrough tool for some of the nation's most challenging problems. It leads a broad collaboration to Rework America to create good jobs and prepare people for today's rapidly changing digital economy. Markle's Skillful initiative is returning economic opportunities to Americans without a college diploma. For more information, visit markle.org, skillful.com and follow @MarkleFdn on Twitter.

The 2015 American Community Survey recently reported the distribution of educational attainment of the adult population (25+ years) in the larger Rural Capital Area counties: Bastrop, Hays and Williamson.

Williamson County has the highest educational attainment, with 93% of adults having graduated from high school, followed by Hays County (90%) and Bastrop County (81%). By comparison, the US high school attainment rate is 87% and the Austin metro is 89%.

Williamson County also leads educational attainment at the Bachelor's level. 40% of Williamson County's adult population has a Bachelor's degree or higher, followed by Hays (36%) and Bastrop (19%). The Bachelor's attainment rate is 31% in the US and 43% in the Austin metro.

Trends point to an overall increase in educational attainment last year. Bastrop's high school attainment rate grew 3 percentage points, Hays grew 2 points, and Williamson County remained the same. Improvements for the metro and US were marginal.

Bachelor's attainment levels fell slightly in Bastrop and increased slightly in Hays and Williamson. Attainment improved the most in Bastrop at the post-Bachelor's level, growing 4 percentage points to reach 8% of adults. Hays remained on par with the US average for Graduate attainment (11.5%) and Williamson and the metro reached 14% and 15% respectively.

Recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 American Community Survey reports the unemployment rate by education level for workers in large counties in the Rural Capital Area.

In Bastrop County, 5% of residents with a high school education are unemployed. The number drops to 1% for residents with a bachelor's degree or higher. Unemployment has decreased since 2014 when 5% of those with a bachelor's degree were unemployed (see table below).

 

In Hays County, the unemployment rate is slightly higher for those with a high school diploma versus a Bachelor's+ degree (3.3% vs. 2.5%). Unemployment was also higher in 2014 (4% vs. 5% for high school graduates vs. Bachelor's+ holders).

Williamson County has a 5% unemployment rate for high school graduates versus a 3% unemployment rate for Bachelor's+. Unlike Bastrop and Hays, the unemployment rate in Williamson rose slightly last year for these two groups. In 2014, 2% of high school graduates were unemployed and 3% of Bachelor's+ graduates were unemployed.

The table below provides a comparison of the unemployment rates for the three large RCA counties, the Austin metro and the U.S. in 2014 and 2015.

Bastrop and Hays counties have lower 2015 unemployment rates than the Austin metro for both high school graduates and those with a college degree.

The Rural Capital Area counties are below the national average for 2015 in all cases with the exception of Bachelor's+ holders in Williamson County. This group has 3.4% unemployment rate compared with the national average of 2.9%.

The following article was written by the Texas Workforce Commission.

Click here to read the article on the Workforce Solutions website.

AUSTIN ⎯ Texas grew by an estimated 38,300 nonfarm jobs in September. The state has added jobs in 17 of the last 18 months. Texas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 4.8 percent in September, up slightly from 4.7 percent in August, and remained below the national rate of 5.0 percent.

“Texas employers continue demonstrating their competitiveness by adding 38,300 jobs in September, for a total of 206,800 jobs added over the year,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “This continued growth in a diverse range of industries creates valuable opportunities for our state's world-class workforce and builds on Texas' continued success as a global economic leader.”

The Leisure and Hospitality industry recorded the largest industry employment gain over the month with 17,900 jobs added. Professional and Business services employment grew by 6,000 jobs in September. Construction employment expanded for the third consecutive month with the addition of 3,400 jobs.

“Private-sector employment was strong over the year with the overall job growth of 162,600 and 31,600 jobs added in September,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “Texas is a state that continues to welcome new employers and work with our homegrown businesses, offering them the tools they need to grow and succeed.”

The Amarillo and Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) recorded the month's lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 3.5 percent, followed by the Lubbock MSA with a rate of 3.6 percent and the College Station-Bryan MSA with a rate of 3.7 for September.

“Our economy continues to offer many diverse opportunities to job seekers” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “I encourage those seeking these opportunities to take advantage of the workforce services available through their local Workforce Solutions office for help finding the job that's right for them.”

An audio download with comments from Chairman Alcantar with the latest labor market data is available on the TWC website press release page. Employment estimates released by TWC are produced in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. All estimates are subject to revision. To access this and more employment data, visit tracer2.com.

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The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org. To receive notifications about TWC programs and services subscribe to our email updates.

The Rural Capital Area's most populated counties have 2015 estimates available now from the US Census Bureau. Some key findings include:

  • Bastrop County saw the biggest percentage decrease in its share of Millennials aged 25-34 years. The Austin metro still has a higher percentage of Millennials than the RCA counties.
  • Bastrop, Hays and Williamson counties all saw a decrease in Millennials and an increase in the retiree population (65+ years) as a percent of total. This trend was reflected in the metro also.
  • Despite an increase from 2014, Hays County has the lowest median age (31.5 years).
  • Median household incomes increased in Bastrop County, Williamson County and the Austin metro, but incomes decreased slightly in Hays County.
  • Hays County has the lowest unemployment rate (4.2%), down 3 percentage points from 2014.
  • Williamson County has the highest median household income ($78,000).
  • The percentage of the 25+ years population with an associate's degree decreased from 2014 to 2015 for Bastrop and Hays counties, but rose for Williamson County and the Austin metro.
  • The share of people with bachelor's degrees fell in Bastrop County, but increased in Hays County, Williamson County and the Austin metro.
  • The share of people with bachelor's degrees in Bastrop County is 17 percentage points lower than in the Austin metro - a wider margin than in 2014.
Click to access the new American Community Survey profiles for Bastrop County, Hays County, Williamson County and the Austin Metro.

The American Community Survey just released its 2015 poverty rate estimates for the larger Rural Capital Area counties – the most recent estimates of poverty available.

Bastrop, Hays and Williamson County all saw poverty rates decrease significantly from 2014 to 2015. Bastrop fell to 8% from 14%; Hays fell to 15% from 22%; and Williamson fell to 7% from 8%. The Austin metro fell to 12% from 15%.

By comparison, the US poverty rate fell to 14.7% in 2015 from 15.5% the previous year.

Comparative data for all counties is available through 2014 from a different statistical survey, the US Census Bureau's Small Area Income & Poverty (SAIPE) program. The Rural Capital Area counties with the highest poverty rate in 2014 were Hays (18%), Caldwell (16%) and Llano (15%). The lowest poverty rates are found in Williamson (8%), Blanco (12%) and Lee (13%).

Poverty in the Rural Capital Area rose 0.8 percentage points from 2009-2014 while the national poverty rate rose 1.2 percentage points. The US rate has shown a slight decline since 2012 while the Rural Capital Area poverty rate has held constant in recent years. Trend data on poverty rates in the Rural Capital Area can be found here.

More information on how these two statistical surveys differ in their methodologies can be found here.

The following article was written by Representative John R. Carter for Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area.

Click here to read the article on the Workforce Solutions website.

As Texas students tackle their first weeks of school, we are reminded that today's graduates are increasingly facing a future of unemployment, declining wages, and mounds of student loan debt. Recent graduates from traditional four year universities continue to find their employment options limited; yet, just this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 5.6 million job openings in America. This staggering number is a direct reflection of the skills gap that exists between the American workforce and the needs of many employers. This lack in skilled workers is largely due to an underlying stigma surrounding Career and Technical Education (CTE). The academic goals of many students and educators fail to align with the needs of businesses looking to hire skilled workers for high-paying, fulfilling careers.

To put our Nation on a path of expanded economic growth, we must back away from the traditional “college for all” mindset. While many thrive in a four year university atmosphere, the reality is that college is not for everyone, and many students' career goals are best achieved with an associate's degree or a certificate in a skilled trade. As four year colleges and universities continue to veer further away from accessibility and affordability, the CTE route offers affordable, practical training designed to prepare students for a rewarding career.

Unfortunately, CTE has been unfairly branded as a disappointing alternative to a college degree, or reserved as a last resort for underprivileged students. Yet with rapid technological advancements and high employer demand, CTE has become more than just a backup plan – it is a path to a fulfilling and prosperous career. With jobs ranging from biotechnology to cybersecurity, and from culinary arts to robotics, CTE meets a variety of diverse interests.

It is time we as a nation reassess our educational priorities and work to reverse the stigma surrounding CTE. When asked about plans after high school, students should be filled with just as much pride when announcing they have chosen to attend the local trade school as if they were to answer with plans to enroll at Texas Tech or Harvard.

In order to bridge the gap between our workforce and employers, I believe promoting CTE and the many opportunities it presents should begin at the local level. This is why I hosted a roundtable discussion at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto. Texas educators, local business owners, professional associations, and state policymakers met to brainstorm ways to best ensure students receive an education that will provide them with the skillset necessary to meet employers' needs.

When it comes to CTE, the discussion has just begun and the opportunities are expansive. Texas is a national leader for job opportunity and economic growth. In order to maintain this high standard, our talent pool must continue to meet the needs of our businesses and industries. Jobs in CTE are readily available, and our community must encourage students to pursue high-paying careers in technology, mechanics, and other highly skilled trades. I have confidence Texans will continue to lead the way in growing our economy, and CTE is a key to our economic prosperity.

The following articles was written by the Texas Workforce Commission.

Click here to read the article on the Workforce Solutions website.

AUSTIN ⎯ Texas grew by an estimated 21,400 nonfarm jobs in August. The state has added jobs in 16 of the last 17 months. Texas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 4.7 percent in August, up slightly from 4.6 percent in July, and remained below the national rate of 4.9 percent.

“Texas employers added 190,600 jobs over the past year, with the diversity of our economy highlighted by nine out of eleven industries adding jobs,” said Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar. “TWC will continue to build partnerships that provide workers with in-demand skills to boost job creation.”

The Financial Activities industry recorded the largest industry employment gain over the month with 6,200 jobs added. Trade, Transportation and Utilities employment added 4,000 jobs in August. Construction employment expanded for the second consecutive month with the addition of 1,300 jobs.

“Private-sector employment was strong over the year with the overall job growth of 150,900 and 18,500 jobs added in August,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “The fact that our state has added jobs for 16 of the last 17 months is a credit to the diversity and resilience of employers in Texas.”

The Amarillo Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) recorded the lowest unemployment rate for August with a 3.4 percent rate for the month. The Austin-Round Rock MSA had the second-lowest rate at 3.5 percent followed by the Lubbock MSA with a rate of 3.8 percent.

“Texas workers have much to offer and there are resources available to help them find the perfect occupational fit, I encourage all job seekers to contact their local Workforce Solutions office for assistance with job training and placement,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez.

Audio downloads with comments from Commissioner Hughs on the latest labor market data are available on the TWC website press release page. Employment estimates released by TWC are produced in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. All estimates are subject to revision. To access this and more employment data, visit tracer2.com.

Recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports average salaries and growth for the Rural Capital Area. The 2015 average salary for the RCA was $45,000 compared with a national average of $53,000.

Williamson County had the highest average salary ($51,000) followed by Lee County ($46,000), Blanco County ($40,000) and Burnet County ($39,000).

Salaries were lowest in Llano County ($34,000) and Bastrop County ($36,000).

Salaries rose 1.9% in the Rural Capital Area from 2014 to 2015, compared with 3.1% growth nationally. The highest growth was reported in Llano County where wages rose 4.0%.

Hays County (3.4%), Bastrop County (2.7%) and Williamson County (2.0%) also experienced above average growth.

Wage levels declined in Lee County (-3.4%), Fayette County (-2.3%) and Burnet County (-0.1%).

RuralCapitalCareers.com is the new career planning website for Central Texas. It provides 24/7-access to career information for students, parents, career counselors and adult workers seeking new careers. Users can identify careers in our service area, the skills required for those careers, and the available college and training programs for each career. An Interests Survey matches careers to users' abilities, desired work tasks, and planned educational attainment level. Employment data and forecasts show job demand by county and region.

Visit http://ruralcapitalcareers.com/ and create your FREE account!

In 2015, the average salary in the Rural Capital Area was $45,000 compared with a national average of $53,000.

The Rural Capital Area industry with the highest average salary was Manufacturing, where the 2015 average salary was $85,000. The U.S. average for manufacturing was $64,000. (A note of caution: Some of Dell's employment in Round Rock is classified as manufacturing.)

Financial Activities ($60,000), Professional & Business Services ($56,000) and Information ($56,000) also had high average salaries in 2015.


From 2014 to 2015, Rural Capital Area salaries grew 1.9%. The industry with the highest growth was Information where salaries rose 12.3% compared with 4.6% nationally.

Financial Activities (5.5%), Professional & Business Services (4.9%) and Manufacturing (3.2%) also reported higher salary growth than the national average.

Source: Texas Workforce Commission

Click here to see the original article.

Austin, Texas has added an estimated 171,100 seasonally adjusted jobs over the past year with the addition of 7,200 nonfarm jobs in June. The state has added jobs in 14 of the last 15 months. Texas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 4.5 percent in June, up slightly from 4.4 percent in May, and remained below the national average of 4.9 percent.

“I am encouraged by our state's continued job growth, with Texas employers adding jobs in nine of 11 industries over the past year,” said Texas Workforce Commissioner (TWC) Chairman Andres Alcantar. “Texas Workforce Solutions is committed to advancing partnerships and providing innovative solutions to our employers and workforce to keep our state the best place to work and do business.”

The Leisure and Hospitality industry added 5,200 jobs in June. Over the year, Leisure and Hospitality gained 53,800 jobs. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities employment added 3,900 jobs in June. Manufacturing employment expanded by 1,000 jobs in June.

“Texas' economic growth over the year is due to the resilience of our employers who have added 123,000 private-sector jobs over the past year,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “The evolution of services provided by the Texas Workforce Solutions network over the past twenty years has played a critical role in job creation and the economic prosperity of our state and we can take pride in all that this agency and our Workforce Solutions partners have accomplished.”

The Amarillo and Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) recorded the month's lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 3.3 percent, followed by the Sherman-Denison and Lubbock MSAs each with rates of 3.9 percent in June.

“The Texas labor force has much to offer and there are resources available to find the perfect occupational fit,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “I encourage all job seekers to contact their local Workforce Solutions office for assistance with job training and placement.”

Audio downloads with comments from Commissioner Hughs on the latest labor market data are available on the TWC website press release page. Employment estimates released by TWC are produced in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. All estimates are subject to revision. To access this and more employment data, visit tracer2.com.

According to recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Rural Capital Area's employment base grew 3.6% in 2015, creating 9,500 new jobs.

Within the Rural Capital Area, most new jobs were created in Williamson County (5,700 new jobs), followed by Hays County (2,800 new jobs). On a percentage basis, job growth was highest in Bastrop County (5.0%), Hays County (4.9%) and Llano County (4.8%).

 

According to recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Education & Health Services lead growth in the Rural Capital Area last year. The Construction and Professional & Business Services Industries followed.

Education & Health Services grew fastest in Hays, Llano and Williamson counties. Construction led growth in Bastrop County, while Leisure & Hospitality grew fastest in Caldwell and Fayette counties. Information led growth in Blanco County, Natural Resources & Mining led growth in Burnet County, and Government led growth in Lee County.

In terms of the new jobs created, Education & Health Services created the most jobs in the Rural Capital Area overall and in Blanco, Hays and Lee counties individually. Trade, Transportation & Utilities created the most new jobs in Bastrop County, while Construction led in Burnet and Llano counties. Leisure & Hospitality created the most jobs in Caldwell and Fayette counties. Professional & Business Services led job creation in Williamson County.

Workforce Solutions – Rural Capital Area proudly announces a one-of-a-kind career planning website for the Rural Capital Area and Central Texas:

http://www.RuralCapitalCareers.com

This website provides 24/7-access to career information for students, parents, career counselors and adult workers seeking new careers. It helps users identify careers in our service area, the skills required for those careers, and the available college and training programs for each career. An Interests Survey matches careers to users' abilities, desired work tasks, and planned educational attainment level. Employment data and forecasts show job demand by county and region.

Empowering Visualizations

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See career information in visual, interactive, and easy-to-understand dashboards.

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Browse careers that match your interests and save your favorite careers.

Find out which of your favorites will grow fastest, pay the most, or get the best ROI on your education investment.

Find the right education programs for you at institutions in the Rural Capital Area and large institutions in Travis County.

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No other tool makes career planning so quick, easy, and meaningful.

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Please visit http://www.RuralCapitalCareers.com and create an account. If you run into problems getting started, please contact Chris Engle at help@headlightdata.com

In 2014, 3,200 households (tax returns) moved from one county to another county within the Rural Capital Area. The three counties that received the most households were Williamson County (790 households), Hays County (780) and Burnet County (440). The three counties that lost the most households were Williamson County (930), Hays County (780) and Caldwell County (400).

In terms of net migration (in- less out-), Burnet County gained the most new households (48), followed by Blanco County (45) and Bastrop County (40). Williamson County lost a net of 140 households to other counties in the Rural Capital Area.

In addition to Williamson County, Caldwell and Hays counties lost more households than they gained. The rest of the counties saw positive net migration from within the Rural Capital Area.

Recently released data from the Internal Revenue Service reports which counties outside of the Rural Capital Area account for the highest number of household relocations to the region.

The IRS-reported number of tax returns acts as a proxy for households.

Most of the households moving to the Rural Capital Area are from Travis County (3,800 households). Harris County-TX (170 households), San Diego County-CA (150) and Los Angeles County-CA (140) follow.

The most popular destinations for households moving out of the Rural Capital Area are Comal County-TX (-150 households), Milan County-TX (-40), Wake County-NC (-30) and Guadalupe County-TX (-30).

Workforce Solutions – Rural Capital Area proudly announces a one-of-a-kind career planning website for the Rural Capital Area and Central Texas:

http://www.RuralCapitalCareers.com

This website provides 24/7-access to career information for students, parents, career counselors and adult workers seeking new careers. It helps users identify careers in our service area, the skills required for those careers, and the available college and training programs for each career. An Interests Survey matches careers to users' abilities, desired work tasks, and planned educational attainment level. Employment data and forecasts show job demand by county and region.

Please visit http://www.RuralCapitalCareers.com and create an account. If you run into problems getting started, please contact Chris Engle at help@headlightdata.com

We are offering a 30-minute training session next week at Wednesday, May 11 from 10:30-11:00. To participate, log into GoToMeeting 5-10 minutes before we start:

Career Headlight Demo and Q&A: Put us in your calendar!

May 11, 2016 at 10:30-11:00 AM central https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/114927733

Dial +1 (224) 501-3312 Access Code: 114-927-733 Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting Meeting ID: 114-927-733

Recently released data from the US Census Bureau reveals that the Rural Capital Area population grew 3.7% in 2015 (July 2014 to July 2015). The total population increased by 34,000 people to total 943,000.

Domestic migration was the primary source of growth last year. On a net basis, 26,000 people relocated to the region in 2015, around 4,000 more people than the year before.

Within the region, Hays County experienced the fastest rate of growth (5.2%), followed by Williamson County (3.9%) and Bastrop County (3.0%). On an absolute basis, Williamson County added the most new residents (19,100) followed by Hays County (9,700).

Recently released data from the US Census Bureau reveals that the Rural Capital Area recorded 11,400 births in 2015 (July 2014 to July 2015), an increase of 2.8% over the previous year. The birth rate for the region is 12.1 births per 1,000 people.

Within the Rural Capital Area, Bastrop County has the highest birth rate (13.0 births per 1,000 people). Williamson County (12.5), Caldwell County (12.1) and Hays County (12.0) follow. Travis County has a birth rate of 13.9, higher than any RCA county.

The counties with the lowest birth rates are Blanco (6.4) and Llano (8.6).

All counties saw an increase in births in 2015 with the exception of Llano County where births declined 0.6%. The counties where births grew fastest were Lee County (11.6%), Fayette County (5.3%) and Hays County (4.7%).

The number of births is growing faster in the Rural Capital Area than Travis County.

The majority of trade occupations in the Rural Capital Area will see high growth over the next five years. The hottest careers in Trades based on the number of job openings are Medical Secretaries, Medical Assistants and Dental Assistants. These occupations will have more than 200 job openings and 20% growth from 2015-2020.

While the top three occupations are medical occupations, construction also has a strong presence on the Top 15 list for Trades careers. Cement Mason & Concrete Finishers, Carpenters and Plumbers, Pipefitters & Steamfitters will have 200 jobs openings.

The highest paying trade occupations are Commercial Pilots ($46 per hour) and Dental Hygienists ($34 per hour). The fastest growing occupation is Brickmasons & Blockmasons with a 42% increase.

Most Trades occupations require only a High School Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, which makes them great occupations for those looking to be in high demand without paying for more schooling.

Click here to see the all the Hot Careers Lists.

At the Associate's degree level, the hottest careers in the Rural Capital Area are Dental Hygienist, Web Developer and Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.

Dental Hygienists earn $34 per hour, will grow 26% from 2015-2020, and have a lot of jobs openings. Registered nurses will have the most job openings of any career on the Top 15 list.

Medical occupations make up eight of the Top 15 for Associate's holders. Engineering jobs account for three of the Top 15. Almost 75% of the Top 15 are STEM occupations.

Two hot careers outside of the Medical and Engineering sectors are Web Developers and Paralegals & Legal Assistants. These occupations are expecting strong growth over the next few years and have high earning potential. Paralegals & Legal Assistants will have 112 job openings.

Click here to see the all the Hot Careers Lists.

Next month, Workforce Solutions – Rural Capital Area will launch a one-of-a-kind career planning website that will vastly improve career planning for students in the Rural Capital Area and central Texas. The website will provide 24-access to career information student, parents, career counselors and the general public. It will help users identify careers in our service area, the skills required for those careers, and the available college and training programs for each career. The website will have an Interests survey for students to match careers to their abilities, desired work tasks, and planned educational attainment level. Employment data and forecasts will be available by county or region.

Once students finish with their career and education search, they can save and print a copy of their work. The website will also include information on the 20 Top Careers in the service area and other useful LMI data.

For a preview of career data, visit our Hot Careers page on RuralCapitalHeadlight.com, our “LMI and more” data website.

Stay tuned for the announcement of our new career planning website!

The just-released Hot Careers list for the Rural Capital Area highlight high growth, high wage occupations for Bachelor's and Associate's degree holders.

At the top of the list for Bachelor's holders are Chief Executives, who earn over $80 per hour. Many CEOs are also business owners, and these high-wage careers take many years climbing the corporate ladder – students get educated but plan to work hard after college.

Architectural & Engineering Managers and Marketing Managers also top the list. In fact, managerial positions dominate the Top 15 list, accounting for over half of the highest paying jobs. Becoming a manager requires diverse skills on team building, public speaking, financial planning, strategy and even writing. Being well educated means also learning these important skills outside of the classroom.

Engineers also feature prominently in the Top 15 list. Petroleum Engineers is the highest paying, non-managerial occupation on the list, while Computer Hardware Engineers will be in highest demand with 168 job openings in the Rural Capital Area.

Eight of the Top 15 occupations are STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology or Math) occupations. The rest belong to the Business, Finance, Marketing or Back Office sectors.

Click here to see the all the Hot Careers Lists.

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. In the age of information and technology the demand for skilled STEM workers continues to increase. STEM occupations account for over half of the Top 15 highest paying hot careers for Bachelor's holders. Almost 75% of the Top 15 highest paying hot careers for Associate's degree holders are STEM occupations. With such prominence in these Top 15 lists we wanted to take a closer look at the hottest STEM occupations in the Rural Capital Area.

Registered Nurses are the hottest STEM occupation by a large margin. At 963 job openings, no other STEM occupation comes close to matching that level of demand for Registered Nurses in the Rural Capital Area. Software Developers (381 jobs) and Computer Systems Analysts (332 jobs) follow.

The highest paying STEM occupation is Physicians & Surgeons, earning $108 per hour on average. However, this occupation requires a Doctoral degree, so dedication and many years of studying are essential for this hot career. Eleven of the Top 15 STEM occupations require at least a Bachelor's degree. One notable exception is Pharmacy Technicians, which requires only a High School Diploma, though some training is preferred. The average hourly wage for a Pharmacy Technician is $14.

Click here to see the all the Hot Careers Lists.

In 2016, nearly all occupation clusters in the Rural Capital Area are projected to experience employment gains. Total employment is forecast to grow 4.3% this year, according to projections from national data provider EMSI. Education is expected to be the single fastest growing occupation cluster in the region, rising 5.5% in 2016. Medical, Hospitality and Computer occupations are also projected to support strong job growth at 4.8%, 4.6% and 4.2%, respectively. Additional sources of job growth include occupations in Logistics (4.1% growth), Personal Services (4.1%), and Back Office (3.8%).

Due to their relatively large size, many slower growing occupation clusters are projected to create the largest number of new jobs within the Rural Capital Area in 2016. Hospitality employment is expected to increase by more than 2,000 jobs this year. Back Office and Personal Services are also expected to create a significant number of jobs within the Rural Capital Area, at 1,600 and 1,500, respectively. The Education and Medical clusters are projected to create more than 1,000 jobs each. Logistics will create 800 jobs.

The Rural Capital Area can expect to see continued broad growth across a diverse set of occupations in 2016. The chart below shows the relative employment base, 5-year growth forecast and location quotient for the largest occupation clusters in the region.

Click here for a guide on how to read a bubble chart.

All clusters will post strong growth over the next 5 years with Education (21% growth) and Medical (18%) experiencing the highest growth. Occupation clusters with a high concentration (high location quotient) in comparison to the U.S. will also see strong growth. These strong, advancing industries include the occupation clusters with the most employment in the region: Construction, Education and Computer.

Looking inside these occupation clusters in more detail, Home Health Aides will grow the most at 28%. Dental Hygienists (26%), Teacher Assistants (25%) and Management Analysts (24%) follow.

Retail Salespersons (2,159 new jobs) are at the top of the chart for net new jobs between 2015 and 2020. Food Preparers & Servers (1,722 new jobs) and Elementary Teachers (1,065 new jobs) follow.

This strong growth indicates a bright economic future for the Rural Capital Area over the next five years and beyond.

In 2014, the Rural Capital Area exported $3.3 billion of goods and services. Williamson County exported the most ($1.8B) followed by Hays County ($540M), Burnet County ($230M) and Bastrop County ($210M).

From 2009 – 2014, export revenue in the RCA increased the most for Caldwell County (102%). Bastrop (66%), Williamson (50%) and Burnet (50%) followed. Export revenue grew more than the national average (30%) in all the RCA counties.

The largest exported commodities in the Rural Capital Area are Semiconductors and Precision Instruments. In 2014 these two commodities generated over $560 million. Agriculture, Aircraft Products & Parts and Agriculture, Construction & Mining Machinery generated more than $150 million.

Click here to see all Exports by Commodity data for the Rural Capital Area.

With the new year upon us, we'd like to examine how 2016 will compare with last year in the Rural Capital Area. Overall, economic growth is expected to remain strong in 2016, but 2017 will see a more tempered growth rate.

Historically, the Rural Capital Area (RCA) has seen higher employment growth than the U.S. average. This trend is forecast to continue, however employment projections from national data provider EMSI anticipate that the gap between U.S. and RCA growth will narrow over the next five years. In 2015, RCA employment grew 4.1%, twice the U.S. rate. 2016 is expected to see a slight increase in RCA growth – 4.3%. By 2021, the growth rate will be 2.2% for the RCA and 1.3% for the U.S.

All Rural Capital Area counties will experience higher employment growth in 2016 than in 2015, with the exception of Williamson county. The county with the highest forecasted growth rate in 2016 will be Blanco (5.1%). Caldwell (4.7%), Llano (4.6%) and Williamson (4.5%) follow. Fayette (2.6%) and Burnet (2.8%) are forecast to have the lowest growth. Lee County will experience the greatest change in growth, rising from -0.1% in 2015 to 4.4% in 2016.

All nine counties are expected to have slightly lower growth in 2017 than in 2016. On average, growth will fall from 4.3% to 3.4%. In comparison, U.S. employment will stay nominally flat; with a decline of just 0.1 percentage points in 2017 after a more significant drop this year. Blanco (4.1%) and Caldwell (3.7%) have the highest 2017 growth rates, Fayette (2.0%) and Burnet (2.2%), the lowest.

In addition to reviewing 2015, we can examine a decade worth of historical growth for the region. New updates illuminate that the Rural Capital Area population growth has outpaced that of the U.S. and has seen strong percentage increases in the last few years. In 2014, the population grew 3.4% while the U.S. population increased 0.7%.

As the population has grown, unemployment in the region has shrunk. The Rural Capital Area has remained below the U.S. unemployment rate for over a decade. In the years following the recession, unemployment has fallen from 7.3% in 2010 to 4.3% in 2014.

Average salaries have increased at a rate that closely mirrors U.S. growth, with the exception of 2011, when Rural Capital Area growth was 7% higher than the U.S.. In 2014, average salary growth was 2.6%, while the national average was 3.1%.

Lastly, we can look at the rise in median household income from 2004-2014. For over a decade the Rural Capital Area has boasted higher median income figures than the U.S.. In 2014, the median household income for the region was 121% of the national average.

With over a decade of strong growth behind us and more growth expected in the next few years, the future remains bright for the Rural Capital Area.

In 2016, nearly all employment clusters in the Rural Capital Area are projected to experience employment gains. Total employment is forecast to grow 4.3% this year, according to projections from national data provider EMSI. Educational Services is expected to be the single fastest growing employment cluster in the region, rising 8.7% in 2016. Transport & Logistics, Entertainment and Professional Services are also projected to support strong job growth at 5.9%, 5.7% and 5.7%, respectively. Additional sources of job growth include industries such as Administration Support (5.1% growth), Health Care (4.9%), and Real Estate (4.8%).

Due to their relatively large size, many slower growing employment clusters are projected to create the largest number of new jobs within the Rural Capital Area in 2016. Government employment is expected to increase by more than 2,000 jobs this year. Retail and Food & Lodging are also expected to create a significant number of jobs within the Rural Capital Area, at 1,700 and 1,500, respectively. Both Health Care and Professional Services clusters are projected to create more than 750 jobs each. Manufacturing will create 700 jobs.

Examining growth for more detailed industry clusters, the Rural Capital Area can expect to see continued broad growth across a clusters both large and small. The chart below shows the relative employment base, 5-year growth forecast and location quotient for the large industry clusters in the region.

Click here for a guide on how to read a bubble chart.

All clusters will post strong growth over the next 5 years with Education (30% growth) and Research (28%) experiencing the highest growth. Industry clusters with a high per capita concentration in comparison to the U.S. (high location quotient) will also see strong growth. These concentrated, advancing industries have the most employment in the region; Government, Retail, Entertainment, and Construction.

Looking at an even deeper level (4-digit NAICS), we can see that specialized sector Elementary & Secondary Schools will grow the most at 34%. Scientific R&D Services (32%), Private Bus Transport (29%) and Office Administration Services (29%) follow. The specialized sector Local Government is expected to create the most new jobs between 2015 and 2020, with Local Government Schools & Hospitals (5,214 jobs) at the top of the chart.

This strong industry growth and job creation indicates a bright economic future for the Rural Capital Area over the next five years and beyond.

Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area has identified the industries and occupations most in demand in our nine-county area that also pay a self-sufficient wage of at least $18.00 per hour. If employment in our region is your primary goal, this list can help focus your career development efforts in occupations that are expected to have the highest growth in job and wage opportunities. Formula WIA training funds can only be provided to customers who are seeking a full time job in a regional occupation that appears on the Board's Target Occupations List.

Click here to download a PDF of this Target Occupations List.

Recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey show educational attainment for larger Rural Capital Area (RCA) counties.

Eighty-seven percent of the U.S. population holds at least a high school diploma. Of the three RCA counties for which data is available, Williamson has the highest percentage of high school graduates at 93%. Hays (87%) is also above the U.S. average but Bastrop (78%) is below average.

And, at the bachelor's level both Williamson (40%) and Hays (35%) are above the U.S. average (30%). However, Bastrop trails behind at 20%, over 10 percentage points lower than the average.

From 2009 to 2014, the number of high school graduates as a percentage of the U.S. population rose 1.6 percentage points. The RCA county with the greatest 5-year increase was Williamson (+2.4 pts.) Hays (-0.4 pts.) and Bastrop (-6.1 pts.) both decreased.

The U.S. average for bachelor's degree holders increased 2.2 percentage points in 5 years. All three RCA counties outpaced U.S. growth. Williamson (+4.7 pts.) increased the most, followed by Bastrop (+3.9 pts.) and Hays (+2.7 pts.).

Recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey details housing costs for larger Rural Capital Area (RCA) counties. Housing is considered affordable if it costs less than 30% of monthly household income.

Thirty-nine percent of the U.S. population lives in unaffordable housing. Of the three RCA counties for which data is available, Hays has the highest percentage of unaffordable housing at 41%. Bastrop (30%) and Williamson (31%) are both below the U.S. average and more than 10 percentage points below Hays County.

From 2009 to 2014, the share of unaffordable housing in the U.S. fell by 3 percentage points. In the Rural Capital Area, Williamson County had the greatest 5-year decrease of almost 5 percentage points. Bastrop (-3.5 pts.) and Hays (-1.4 pts.) followed. In comparison, Travis County decreased only 0.6 percentage points.

Click the titles below to read the 5 most popular articles of 2015:

1) Where the Jobs Will Be: Rural Capital Area Edition

2) Medical, Hospitality & Retail Occupations Projected to Grow Fastest in the Next Five Years; Back Office Projected to Create the Most Jobs

3) 44% of Rural Capital Area College Graduates Have Science & Engineering Degrees, Led by Williamson and Bastrop Counties

4) New Data Maps Available on Counties in the Rural Capital Area: Population Growth, Race, Income, Age, Unemployment Rates

5) Highest Wage Growth in 2014 in Lee, Hays, and Burnet Counties; Information Services, Financial Services and Professional Services Lead Growth

The September 2015 unemployment rate for the Rural Capital Area (3.4%) registered 1.5 percentage points lower than the U.S. rate of 4.9%. Blanco County had the lowest unemployment rate (3.0%), followed by Lee County (3.2%) and Fayette County (3.3%).

The county with the highest unemployment in September 2015 was Llano (4.3%). Caldwell and Bastrop County followed Llano with unemployment rates of 4.1% and 3.7% respectively.

All the Rural Capital Area counties had unemployment rates that were lower than the U.S. average for September 2015.

Today's unemployment rate in all Rural Capital Area counties is lower than 10 years ago. From September 2005 to September 2015, the unemployment rate decreased in the Rural Capital Area by 1.0 percentage point versus a 0.1 point increase in the U.S.

Bastrop County and Caldwell County saw the greatest decrease (1.1 pts.), followed by Blanco (1.0 pts.), Lee (1.0 pts.) and Williamson (1.0 pts.)

Fayette County had the smallest decrease over the 10-year period with a 0.5 percentage point decrease.

In 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau released commuting mode estimates for two Rural Capital Area counties - Hays County and Williamson County. The tables below show the share each commuting mode had of the total commuters in 2009 and 2014. The estimates for Travis County, the Austin-Round Rock Metro and the United States are included for comparison.

The number of people that worked from home increased from 2009 to 2014. The Austin metro saw its telecommuter share increase from 5.9% in 2009 to 6.9% in 2014. The U.S. telecommuter share grew from 4.3% to 4.5%.

In Travis County, the percentage of telecommuters grew from 6.0% to 7.3% over the 5-year period. Hays saw a slight decline in telecommuting and Williamson County saw a 1.1 percentage point increase.

Still, the vast majority of workers commute by car. 89% of Hays County workers used a car to get to work in 2014. Most Hays residents traveled alone, but 12% carpooled, 3 percentage points more than the U.S. average. The number of single occupant cars decreased by 3 percentage points in Hays from 2009 to 2014. The number of carpoolers increased by 3 percentage points.

In Williamson County, 90% of residents commuted by car. The change was less pronounced for Williamson County with a 1.1 point decrease in single occupant cars and 0.3 point increase in carpools.

 

Other transport modes had a much smaller share of the total commuters. Public transport was used by 5.2% of U.S. commuters in 2014. The percentage was less for Hays (1.2%), Williamson (0.8%) and Travis (3.6%). The share of commuters using public transport changed less than 1 percentage point for all three counties between 2009 and 2014.

The share of people that walked to work in 2014 was 2.2% for Hays County but only 0.8% for Williamson County. Both counties saw a decrease in walkers from 2009 to 2014. Travis County saw a slight increase from 1.9% to 2.0%.

In 2014, almost 70,000 Austin Metro workers telecommuted, which includes people who work at home or run home-based businesses. This number represents 7% of Austin Metro workers and is a 1 percentage point increase on the number of telecommuters in 2009.

Workers 65 years or older in the Austin metro have the highest rates of telecommuters – 10% – a trend that mirrors the U.S. But, young professionals aged 25-44 are twice as likely to be telecommuters (7.2%) than the average U.S. young professional (3.8%).

From 2009 to 2014, the Austin Metro saw a greater change in the percentage of telecommuters than the U.S. across all age brackets. The percentage of telecommuters increased the most for 25-44 years olds (1.45 pts.), followed by 45-54 year olds (1.34 points) and 16-19 year olds (0.99 points). The percentage of Austin Metro telecommuters decreased for the rest of the age brackets with the greatest decrease for 65+ year olds.

 

Maps on each county in the Rural Capital Area show variations by census tracts within the county. The following metrics are available as heat maps:

  • Population Growth, 2010-2015
  • Population Forecast, 2015-2020
  • Total Population, 2015
  • Percent White, 2015
  • Percent Hispanic, 2015
  • Median Household Income, 2015
  • Median Age, 2015
  • Unemployment Rate, 2015
Heat maps use shaded colors to show the variation of a metric within the county as shown here:

Population Growth, 2010-2015, Bastrop County

Click here to see maps on the Rural Capital Area.

In 2013, 5,350 residents in the Rural Capital Area (RCA) were granted patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Williamson County had the most inventors (3,184) followed by Hays County (2,081). Multiple inventors can be attributed to a single patent.

The number of inventors in the Rural Capital Area increased 40% from 2008 to 2013. The number of inventors in Bastrop and Burnet counties more than doubled. Growth in Hays County outpaced Williamson County.

Only Blanco, Fayette and Lee County saw a decrease in the number of inventors granted patents. All three counties were granted 0 patents in 2013.

Of the 5,300 inventors that received patents in 2013, 1,873 inventors were named as the first person on the patent. When counting a patent only once for the first person named, Williamson County had the most patents (1,109) followed by Hays County (738). The number of patents awarded increased 35% in the Rural Capital Area from 2008 to 2013. The number of patents awarded in Bastrop and Burnet counties more than doubled. The percentage growth in Hays was greater than that in Williamson. This mirrors the trends seen in the number of inventors in the Rural Capital Area.

In 2013, the Austin metro was awarded 2,700 patents accounting for 2% of all US patents awarded. Patents increased 38% from 2008-2013, a slower pace than the US' 72%. During the previous five years, Austin patents grew 9% while total US patents fell 12%.

The US Patent and Trademark Office classify patents according to their technology type. There were 64 of approximately 475 technology classes represented in Austin patents in 2013. The technology class with the most patents granted was Multicomputer Data Transferring. Eight of the top 15 technology classes belonged to the broader categories of Electric Computers & Digital Processing Systems or Data Processing.

The Virtual Machine Task or Process Management class had the largest increase in patents awarded from 2008-2013 (224% increase). Information Security patents increased by 203%. Seven of the 15 technology classes with the highest growth in patents were from the Electrical Computers & Digital Processing Systems or Data Processing classification groups.

The Rural Capital Area's most populated counties have 2014 estimates available now from the US Census. Some key findings include:

  • Bastrop County saw the biggest percentage increase in its share of Millennials aged 25-34 years, but the Austin metro still has a higher percentage than the RCA counties.
  • Bastrop's retiree population (65+ years) shrunk as a percent of total, but Hays, Williamson and Austin saw an increase.
  • Hays County has the lowest median age (30.7 years).

Median household incomes increased in Bastrop County, Williamson County, and the Austin metro, but incomes decreased slightly in Hays County. Williamson County has the lowest unemployment rate (4.3%) and the highest median household income ($72,453).

The percentage of the 25+ years population with an associate's degree remained constant from 2013 to 2014 for Bastrop, Hays and Austin. Williamson County saw a 0.3% decrease in associate's degrees. The share of people with bachelor's degrees fell slightly in Bastrop County, Hays County, and the Austin metro, but increased in Williamson County.

More 2014 demographic, social and economic data for the RCA counties can be found here:

Bastrop County 2014 Data

Hays County 2014 Data

Williamson County 2014 Data

 

In 2013, the Rural Capital Area attracted 7,300 net new households (tax returns), representing approximately 17,000 new people (exemptions) and $565 million in new taxpayer gross income.

Williamson County attracted the most: 4,300 households and $280 million in gross income. Hays County captured the second most households and income. Bastrop County attracted the third-most returns, but Burnet County attracted the third highest new gross income, $85 million.

Travis County was a major contributor to flows into the Rural Capital Area, accounting for 40% of net migration. 3,000 households (returns) relocated from Travis County, bringing $160 million of total gross income with them. Williamson County captured the most households from Travis County (1,500), but Hays County captured the most tax payer gross income ($76 million into Hays versus $69 million into Williamson). Bastrop County and Lee County had positive net migration (300 and 8 households respectively) but a negative impact to gross income (-$1.6 million and -$0.1 million respectively).

Click here to download a spreadsheet of the data.

In 2013, 3,400 households (tax returns) moved from one county to another county within the Rural Capital Area. The three counties that received the most households were Hays County (790 households), Williamson County (750) and Burnet County (470). The three counties that lost the most households were Williamson County (950), Hays County (820) and Bastrop County (390).

In terms of net migration (in- less out-), Burnet County gained the most new households (93), followed by Bastrop County (65) and Caldwell County (42). Williamson County lost a net of 200 households to other counties in the Rural Capital Area.

In addition to Williamson County, Blanco County lost more households than it gained. The rest of the counties saw positive net migration from within the Rural Capital Area.

Click here to download a spreadsheet of the data.

Recently released data from the Internal Revenue Service shows that county-to-county net migration (total in-migrants minus out-migrants) is the highest in Travis County, TX (Austin), which gained 24,000 households in 2013 from outside the Austin metro. Travis County gained a remarkable 10,000 more returns than the county in second place.

“Households” is a proxy for the IRS-reported number of tax returns. Intra-metro relocations were excluded from this analysis.

Harris County, TX (in Houston) attracted 14,000 new households, followed by Maricopa County, AZ (7,400), Clark County, NV (6,100) and King County, WA (5,100).

Households relocating out of the metro were highest in Los Angeles County, CA (-13,600), Miami-Dade County, FL (-12,400), and Cook County, IL (-7,700) in Chicago.

Click here to download a spreadsheet of data for all counties.

Population growth in the Rural Capital Area is heavily influenced by out-migration from Travis County. In 2012 (the latest year available from the Internal Revenue Service), 26,000 people left Travis County for the Rural Capital Area. By comparison, 19,500 people left the Rural Capital Area to move to Travis County, for a net flow of 5,600 people (as measured by the exemptions on tax returns – a fair proxy for headcount). Harris County (Houston), Bell County (Killeen/Belton), and Los Angeles County were the top sources for net migration to the Rural Capital Area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other cities outside of Texas that send population to the Rural Capital Area include Chicago, Orange-CA, San Jose, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami, and San Francisco. All of these cities send more people to the Rural Capital Area than they attract back.

Travis County also attracts a large number of people from outside of the state: Miami, Tampa Bay, the Bronx, Chicago, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Phoenix all send more population to Austin than they attract.

In total the Rural Capital Area enjoys positive net migration from 94 counties and Travis County enjoys positive net migration from 259 counties.

According to recently released data from the Texas Workforce Commission, the Rural Capital Area enjoyed a diverse mix of high-performing industries. Manufacturing grew fastest in Blanco, Llano, and Williamson counties, while Information Services grew fastest in Caldwell, Hays, and Lee counties. (Information Services includes Publishers, Film/TV, Telecom Services and Data Centers.) Financial Activities led growth in Bastrop County, Natural Resource led growth in Burnet County, and Government led growth in Fayette County.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In terms of total new jobs created, Construction created the most jobs in Blanco, Caldwell, and Lee counties. Manufacturing created the most jobs in Llano and Williamson counties. Bastrop County's job creation was led by Leisure & Hospitality, Burnet was led by Health Services, Fayette was led by Trade/Transport/Utilities, and Hays was led by Professional Services.

Click here to explore job growth data by county in the Rural Capital Area.

This is an article from USA Today originally posted on the Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area News Archive.

SAN FRANCISCO — Chip-making giant Intel doubled the number of women and under-represented minorities it hired in the United States over the past six months, after its CEO announced a plan to reach full representation of those groups by 2020.

Intel on Wednesday published its first mid-year diversity report, offering one of the most detailed looks available from a technology company of its hiring.

The lack of women, African Americans and Hispanics in tech has been an issue of growing concern in Silicon Valley. Many big tech companies have instituted programs to diversify their workforce, but progress has been modest.

Over the past six months, 43.3% of the people Intel hired in the United States were either female, African American, Hispanic or Native American.

That's in contrast to a year ago, when roughly 20% of Intel's hires were from one of those groups, said CEO Brian Krzanich.

One thing that surprised staffers he said, was that the number of people with the necessary education — the much-discussed "pipeline" issue — wasn't as big a problem as they had feared.

"I think we started this process thinking that the pipeline was empty and we'd have to start at the very beginning," said Krzanich. "But we were all pleasantly surprised that there's actually a pretty good pipeline going."

Recruiters found that "if you go to the right colleges, the pipeline is there. I won't say it's easy, but it's certainly something that can be done," Krzanich said.

That fits with USA TODAY research published last year that found there were twice the number of under-represented graduates in technical fields than were hired by tech companies.

Intel found technical programs at colleges and universities with large populations of women, African Americans and Hispanics, Krzanich said.

The company also sent recruiters who were in the same groups they were trying to hire. Students "want to talk to people who understand what it's like to be at Intel as a woman, as an African American," said Krzanich.

The hiring period was roughly January to July, 2015.

The company's goal was that 40% of new hires would be women or under-represented minorities, so "we're actually very pleased with the progress we've made in the first six months," Krzanich said.

Of the 1,669 people the company hired since January, 1,035 were women, 139 were African American, 222 were Hispanic and nine were Native American, Intel reported.

Breaking out the workers in technical jobs (which encompass 85% of the workforce), the numbers were 19.4% female, 3.3% African American, 8.0% Hispanic and 0.5% Native American.

Even with increased diversity in hiring, the overall make-up of the workforce remained largely the same.

At the end of 2014, women made up 23.5% of Intel's total workforce, African Americans were 3.4%, Hispanics 8.3% and Native Americans 0.5%.

In July, women made up 24.1% of Intel's total workforce, African Americans 3.5%, Hispanics 8.3% and Native Americans 0.5%.

For workers in technical jobs, the percentages were 19.4% female, 3.3% African American, 8.0% Hispanic and 0.5% Native American.

The fact that the overall percentage of Hispanic and Native American staffers stayed steady shows Intel's honesty in releasing its numbers quickly even when they weren't totally in line with what the company was looking to achieve, said Laura Weidman Powers. She is co-founder of Code 2040, a non-profit that finds top Hispanic and African-American engineers and gets them internships with tech companies.

"It's not super surprising," said Powers. Her organization has long recognized that it's not possible to craft a one-size-fits-all solution in hiring when dealing with disparate groups.

Intel goals

Because 85% of its workforce is made up of technical staff, Intel has calculated what it calls the "market availability" of people in each group who have the necessary education and skills.

The numbers it arrived at for its technical staff are that 22.7% of women have the necessary technical skills, 4.5% of African Americans and 8.4% of Hispanics, said Rosalind Hudnell, the company's chief diversity officer.

It is those numbers, rather than the actual population, the company is trying to achieve parity with.

That's a smart way to do it, said Powers. Other tech companies sometimes throw up their hands and say, "It's a pipeline problem, there isn't enough talent," she said.

Intel is calling their bluff. "They're saying, 'Let's focus on the actual people coming out of the actual pipeline. And if we're not hitting those numbers, it's not on the schools, it's on us,'" Powers said.

The company has had to pay a slight premium to get the desired talent "because there are fewer people who have these diverse backgrounds," Krzanich said. However it hasn't been so much that it's "put our compensation out of whack."

The benefits, however, will be large, he believes.

He gives the example of a wearable designed for women that a group of male engineers was working on. They were trying to fit a small charging node into the clasp of the device, but it wasn't going in easily.

"Then a woman engineer came in and said, 'Why don't we just build a charging bowl, like the one I throw all my other jewelry in?'"

In many ways Intel has been at the forefront of the diversity issue for over a decade. It was one of the first tech companies to release its EEO1 report for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission detailing its staffing in 2002.

"If everybody gets ahead of us, I think that would be a great thing for the world. We're okay with that," said Krzanich.

This is an article from the Associated Press originally posted on the Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area News Archive.

WASHINGTON — Even after another month of strong hiring in June and a sinking unemployment rate, the U.S. job market just isn't what it used to be.

Pay is sluggish. Many part-timers can't find full-time work. And a diminished share of Americans either have a job or are looking for one.

Yet in the face of global and demographic shifts, this may be what a nearly healthy U.S. job market now looks like.

An outsize proportion of Americans is retiring as the leading edge of the baby boom generation moves past age 65. Many younger adults, bruised by the Great Recession, are postponing work to remain in school to try to become more marketable. Global competition and increasing automation are holding down pay.

Many economists think these trends will persist for years despite steady job growth. It helps explain why the Federal Reserve is widely expected to start raising interest rates from record lows later this year even though many job measures remain far below their pre-recession peaks.

“The Fed may recognize that this is a new labor-market normal, and it will begin to normalize monetary policy,” said Patrick O'Keefe, an economist at accounting and consulting firm CohnReznick.

Thursday's monthly jobs report from the government showed that employers added a solid 223,000 jobs in June and that the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent in May. Even so, the generally improving job market still bears traits that have long been regarded as weaknesses. Among them:

• A shrunken labor force.

The unemployment rate didn't fall in June because more people were hired. The unemployment rate fell solely because the number of people who had become dispirited and stopped looking for work far exceeded the number who found jobs.

The percentage of Americans in the workforce — defined as those who either have a job or are actively seeking one— dropped to 62.6 percent, a 38-year low, from 62.9 percent. (The figure was 66 percent when the recession began in 2007.)

Fewer job holders typically mean weaker growth for the economy. The growth of the labor force slowed to just 0.3 percent in 2014, compared with 1.1 percent in 2007.

“It is highly unlikely that we are going to see our (workforce) participation rate move anywhere near where it was in 2007,” O'Keefe said.

This marks a striking reversal. The share of Americans in the workforce had been steadily climbing through early 2000, and a big reason was that more women were working. But that influx plateaued in the late 1990s and has drifted downward since.

• The retirement of the vast baby boom generation.

The aging population is restraining the growth of the workforce. The pace of retirements accelerated in 2008, when the oldest boomers turned 62, the age at which workers can start claiming early Social Security benefits. Economists estimate that retirements account for about half the decline in the share of Americans in the workforce since 2000.

From that perspective, the nation as a whole is beginning to resemble retirement havens such as Florida. Just 59.3 percent of Floridians are in the workforce.

• Younger workers are starting their careers later.

Employers are demanding college degrees and even postgraduate degrees for a higher proportion of jobs. Mindful of this trend, teens and young people in their 20s are still reading textbooks at an age when previous generations were punching time clocks.

The recession “basically told everybody that they need an education to get better jobs,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo. “So how would young people respond? They stayed in school.”

Fewer than 39 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds are employed, down from 56 percent in 2000. For people ages 20 to 24, the proportion has fallen to 64 percent from 72 percent.

• The number of part-timers who would prefer full-time work remains high.

About 6.5 million workers are working part time but want full-time jobs, up from 4.6 million before the recession began. This is partly a reflection of tepid economic growth. But economists also point to long-term factors: Industries such as hotels and restaurants that hire many part-timers are driving an increasing share of job growth, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco have found.

As more young adults put off working, some employers are turning to older workers to fill part-time jobs. Older workers are more likely to want full-time work, raising the level of so-called involuntary part-time employment.

Many economists also point to the Obama administration's health care reforms as a cause for increased part-time employment. The law requires companies with more than 100 employees to provide health insurance to those who work more than 30 hours.

Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan Chase, said this could account for as much as one-third of the increase in part-time jobs.

• Weak pay growth.

The average hourly U.S. wage was flat in June at $24.95 and has risen just 2 percent over the past year. The stagnant June figure dispelled hopes that strong job growth in May heralded a trend of steadily rising incomes.

In theory, steady hiring is supposed to reduce the number of qualified workers who are still seeking jobs. And a tight supply of workers tends to force wages up.

Yet a host of factors has complicated that theory. U.S. workers are competing against lower-paid foreigners. And automation has threatened everyone from assembly line workers to executive secretaries.

Still, economists at Goldman Sachs forecast that average hourly pay will grow at an annual pace of about 3.5 percent by the end of 2016. That is a healthy pace. But it will have taken much longer to reach than in previous recoveries.

Job seekers fill out applications at a June job fair in Sunrise, Fla. Even with steady hiring and a falling unemployment rate, the U.S. job market is not what it used to be. A diminished share of Americans either have a job or are looking for one.

According to recently released data from the Texas Workforce Commission, the Rural Capital Area's employment base grew 4.2% in 2014, creating 10,700 new jobs. Job growth is high, but has yet to reach its pre-recession levels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Within the Rural Capital Area, most new jobs were created in Williamson County (6,000 new jobs), followed by Hays County (2,600 jobs). But on a percentage basis, job growth was highest in Burnet County (6%), Fayette County (5%) and Hays County (4.6%).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to explore job growth by industry for individual counties in the Rural Capital Area.

According to new data from the US Census, the Rural Capital Area's retiree population is the fastest growing of any age group. Retirees aged 65 years or older grew 7% in the region versus 3.4% for the US population overall. The 70-74 year old age group grew the fastest at 8.7%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This high growth puts some counties at the top of the rankings: Hays and Williamson counties rank in the top 1% of all medium-sized counties and all other counties rank within the top 10% for growth with the exception of Fayette and Llano counties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retirees' share of the total population varies dramatically across counties, with retirees accounting for one-third of the population in Llano County but just 8% in Travis County.

According to new data from the US Census, the growth of Millennials (age 25-34) is high across many counties in the Rural Capital Area. Hays County's 25-34 year old population grew faster in 2014 than any other mid-sized county in the US. Blanco, Caldwell, and Hays counties ranked in the top 10 percent of their size category. Overall, the Rural Capital Area saw its Millennial population grow 3.7%, faster than the rest of the population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still, Millennials still prefer the urban living offered by Travis County: Millennials account for 20% of Travis County's population, but just 13% of the Rural Capital Area's population.

Wage growth in the Austin metro matched US growth at 2.9% in 2014 (Q3 to Q3). High wage growth was experienced in rural Lee, Burnet, and Fayette counties. In more urban counties, Hays experienced strong growth, but Williamson County saw its average wage fall in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wage growth varied by industry across the Rural Capital Area:

  • Information Services wages grew 22% and 18% in Bastrop and Fayette counties, respectively.
  • Financial Activities wages grew by double-digits in Bastrop, Fayette, Lee and Llano counties.
  • Professional Services wages grew by double-digits across a majority of counties in the Rural Capital Area: Bastrop, Burnet, Fayette, Lee and Williamson.
  • Manufacturing wages grew 17% in Llano County and 8% Burnet County.
  • Natural Resources & Mining grew by double digits in Hays, Travis and Williamson counties.
Five-year growth trends showed some similarities: Lee County experienced the fastest wage growth again (40%), but Williamson County grew its wages faster than the Austin metro and US. Blanco County experienced the third fastest growing wages, but Bastrop County wages grew the slowest over the five-year period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many industries boosted their wages by more than 40% in 5 years:

  • Natural Resources & Mining in Caldwell, Hays, Lee and Williamson counties;
  • Construction in Caldwell and Lee counties;
  • Manufacturing in Llano and Williamson counties;
  • Trade, Transportation & Utilities in Blanco, Caldwell, and Lee counties;
  • Information Services in Fayette County;
  • Professional & Business Services in Fayette and Lee counties;
  • Health Care in Llano County; and
  • Leisure and Hospitality in Bastrop County.
Government wages grew the fastest in Travis County over 5 years; least in Williamson County.

In 85% of large US metros, the unemployment rate of women exceeds the unemployment rate of men. But, data from the US Census shows that 8 of 52 large metros had a lower unemployment rate for women than men in 2013. This unemployment disparity was the lowest in Oklahoma City, where the female unemployment rate was 0.4 percentage points lower than that of men. Nashville, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas rounded out the top 5 metros.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gender equity is worst in Las Vegas, Cleveland, and San Diego, where the unemployment rate in 2013 was more than 2 percentage points higher for women than men.

From 2009-2013, many metros saw this disparity decrease. The largest decrease occurred in Detroit, where the gender difference fell by 3 percentage points. Milwaukee, Portland, Grand Rapids, and Nashville also experienced large declines in the gender gap. The least improved metro from 2009-2013 was San Francisco, which saw its gender gap increase by 1.3%. Hartford, San Diego, and New Orleans also saw large increases.

The youth unemployment rate measures the portion of youth aged 16-19 years that seek work (full- or part-time) but cannot find work. Data from the US Census shows that youth unemployment rates remain higher than their pre-recession averages.

The Austin metro, despite having one of the fastest growing economies in the US, has a higher youth unemployment rate (29%) than the US average (28%). Williamson County, also one of the fastest growing counties in the US, has the highest youth unemployment rate (37%) within the Austin metro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unemployment rates are affected by job availability and the level of interest in a population in finding job, also known as the labor force participation rate. Within the Austin metro, 16-17% of youth aged 16-19 years seek employment. This participation rate is slightly lower than the US average. With lower levels of job seekers in the region's youth population, above-average rates of unemployment indicate that jobs are even harder to find for area youth than they were pre-recession.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is causing high unemployment for youth in this region? The most likely culprit is the competition for jobs from millennials relocating to the region. As more and more young adults move here, the lowest-end jobs, particularly in retail, are being taken by newcomers settling into their new life. And, with labor force participation rates down across the US, there is a latent supply of labor that is ready to re-enter the labor force when more jobs become available.

The good news is that the unemployment rate for the Rural Capital Area has been cut in half in the last 18 months and now stands at 3.5%. When more recent data for youth unemployment is released in December, we should start to see an improvement.

Economically disadvantaged students are accounting for a large share of the Rural Capital Area region's K-12 public school population. Economically disadvantaged students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch or other public assistance. In the 2013-2014 school year, 41% of all students were economically disadvantaged, an increase of 7 percentage points in 10 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two-thirds of counties in the Rural Capital Area have more than 50% of their students in the disadvantaged category: Caldwell (71%), Bastrop (68%), Lee (61%), Burnet (60%), Llano (59%), and Fayette (52%).

Bastrop County had the highest point increase, with 19% more of the student body classified as disadvantaged in 10 years. Lee and Llano counties also saw large increases.

Williamson County has the lowest share and the lowest increase, with 30% of students categorized as economically disadvantaged students, an increase of just 5 percentage points in 10 years.

According to new data from the US Census, the rate of net migration into RCA counties ranks high when compared to other counties in the US. Net migration measures the number of people moving into a county in a year less the people moving out.

Hays County registered the #1 highest net migration rate across all 290 medium counties in the US, attracting 37.8 new residents per 1000 existing population. Williamson County registered the 5th highest net migration for medium counties. Travis County registered the #1 highest net migration rate across mega counties with 1+ million population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several small counties also top the rankings: Bastrop ranks 10 out of 555 small counties, and Blanco and Llano counties are in the top 5% of micro counties.

High net migration rates across all RCA counties are clear proof of the region's attractiveness to people of all kinds. Hill Country counties such as Llano, Burnet, and Blanco are boosted by relocating retirees, Williamson and Hays counties are attracting families, and Travis county attracts a younger demographic. All RCA counties rank within the Top 20% of US counties.

New data released by the US Census shows that the population in the 9-county Rural Capital Area grew by 30,000 people in 2014 at a 3.4% annual growth rate (July 2013 to July 2014). The RCA growth rate is far higher than the US growth rate (0.7%) and higher than the Travis County growth rate (2.5%). High population growth boosts the Rural Capital Area economy, as new people spend money locally and employers locate to find an available workforce.

 

 

 

 

 

High population growth in the Rural Capital Area was driven primarily by higher levels of net in-migration, or more people moving into the region than moving out. Domestic in-migration reached nearly 22,000 people in 2014, the highest level seen in 6 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The US Census Bureau estimates that 909,000 people live in the Rural Capital Area as of July 2014, 40% more people than 10 years ago (263,000 more people).

Williamson County witnessed 6,100 births in 2014 (July 2013 to July 2014), an increase of 2% over the previous year. Williamson County's birth rate ranks within the top 30% of all counties of medium size – the highest ranking of all counties in the Rural Capital Area. The birth rate measures the number of births in a county per 1000 population.

The region's micro counties, with less than 50,000 population, show a wide range of birth rates. Caldwell and Lee Counties have birth rates near 12 per 1000, which puts them in the top 40% of all micro counties. Blanco, Fayette, and Llano counties have some of the smallest birth rates in the region and US, ranking in the bottom 10% of counties of similar size. Blanco ranks toward the middle.

Bastrop and Hays counties rank slightly better than average against other small counties, with birth rates of 11.8 and 12.1, respectively. Travis County's birth rate ranked better than any RCA county, reaching 14.1 and ranking in the 27th percentile of all mega-sized counties with 1 million or more population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All counties witnessed more births in 2014 than the previous year with the exception of Fayette (-6% growth), Bastrop (-2%), and Caldwell (-1%). Blanco experienced the highest growth in births (10%), though levels are relatively low.

On average, the growth in births in the Rural Capital Area was slightly higher (+0.06%) than Travis County's for a rounded average of 1.4%. The US birth rate was negligibly higher, just 0.1%.

Among large metros with a population of 1 million or more, the Austin 5-county metro is the fastest growing employment market for the following occupations: biochemists, machine operators and maintenance, mechanical drafters, electrical engineers, and nursing assistants. The Austin metro's ability to drive job in these occupations is further testament to the continued attractiveness to talent; all of these occupations require post-secondary educations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Austin metro is also the fastest growing job market for many occupations that don't require post-secondary education. These occupations fall in the packaging/distribution industry (weighers, packaging machine operators, production helpers, transportation supervisors), construction (glaziers), and office administration (telemarketers, file clerks, payroll clerks, and office support positions).

Click here to find detailed statistics on growth by occupation.

New data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a diverse mix of occupations leading local employment growth. The Biochemists and Biophysicists occupation group grew the fastest in 2014 (250%), followed by Machine Tool Operators (203%) and Geological & Petroleum Technicians (200%).

Among the 20 fastest-growing occupations in 2014, two were legal professions: Law Clerks and Judges. Two were creative: Advertising Managers and Art Directors, who likely work in the software industry. Many are production- or construction-related: Machine Tool Operators, Machinery Maintenance, Glaziers (Glasscutters), Paving Equipment Operators, Packaging Machine Operators, Metal Fabricators, and Mechanical Preparers.

Many of these production occupations not only grew at a high percentage rate, but also created hundreds of jobs throughout the region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to find detailed statistics on growth by occupation.

New data released by the US Census last week reveals that population growth in the 9-county Rural Capital Area reached 3.4% in 2014 (July 2013 to July 2014). The total population increased by more than 30,000 people to total 909,000. Domestic migration was the primary driver of this growth. On a net basis, 22,000 people relocated to the region in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

Within the region, Hays County experienced the fastest rate of growth (4.8%), followed by Williamson County (3.8%) and Bastrop County (2.6%). On an absolute basis, Williamson County added the greatest number of residents (18,000), followed by Hays County (8,500).

 

 

 

 

 

According to the US Census, Hays County's population growth was 2nd-fastest among all counties with 100,000 population or more. Williamson County's population growth was 8th fastest.

Click here to find detailed statistics on the Rural Capital Area's population growth.

Strong job growth throughout the Rural Capital Area has led to a tightening labor market as employers struggle to find workers. Today, at 3.5%, the unemployment rate is just 0.1% higher than the lows reached in 2007-2008 before the recession hit.

 

 

 

 

 

The lowest unemployment rates in the region are found in Fayette and Lee counties – both at 2.9% in December. The Austin 5-county metro has a slightly lower unemployment rate than the Rural Capital Area, but the US rate is nearly 2 percentage points higher.

The largest drops in unemployment rates since the recession (in percentage point change) were in Bastrop and Caldwell counties. These two counties, along with Lee and Williamson counties, have cut their unemployment rates by more than half in the past five years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to explore unemployment rate trends for the region.

While major metropolitan areas such as San Francisco and Seattle are widely celebrated for their strong entrepreneurial culture, smaller communities such as the Rural Capital Area are also home to numerous small businesses. More than 10% of Rural Capital Area residents are self-employed. This rate is higher than the Texas average and nearly equal to that of the Austin metropolitan area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rural Capital Area is home to entrepreneurs in every industry imaginable. Agriculture & Forestry, Construction, and Professional Services are especially well represented. Nearly one in three farmers in the Rural Capital Area is self-employed, double the statewide average. More than a quarter of all Rural Capital Area residents working in Construction are self-employed, also higher than the Texas average. 18.2% of residents working in Professional Services such as accounting, architecture, and engineering are self-employed.

The US Census Bureau has recently begun publishing data on the fields of study for college graduates through the American Community Survey (data below are 5-year averages through 2013). The new information provides a more granular look at educational attainment levels among communities throughout the US, including the Rural Capital Area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The popularity of individual fields of study among college graduates in the Rural Capital Area is virtually identical to US averages. Science & Engineering is the most widespread area of study among bachelor's degree recipients in the Rural Capital Area. Among the region's college graduates, 44% possess a degree in a Science & Engineering field. Arts & Humanities is the second most popular field of study among Rural Capital Area residents. 22% of local college graduates have an Arts & Humanities degree. 20% of Rural Capital Area residents pursued Business degrees while in college, making it the third most prevalent field of undergraduate study. 13% of college graduates living in the Rural Capital Area possess an Education bachelor's degree.

 

 

 

 

 

Although the overall proportion of Rural Capital Area college graduates with Science & Engineering degrees is nearly identical to the US average, there remain slight differences in areas of specialty. Rural Capital Area Science & Engineering graduates are 50% more likely to possess Computer & Math degrees. Nearly 16% of Rural Capital Area Science & Engineering graduates have a Computer & Math degree, compared to less than 10% in the US. Conversely, Rural Capital Area Science & Engineering graduates are less likely to possess a Social Sciences Science & Engineering degree. In 2013, approximately 16% of Science & Engineering college graduates in the Rural Capital Area held a Social Sciences degree, compared to nearly 20% in the US.

If college degree information provides a glimpse into the educational pursuits of Rural Capital Area residents, an examination of the occupations held by residents delivers an even more nuanced understanding of skills available among the local workforce.

Three occupational clusters dominate employment within the Rural Capital Area and Travis County. Back Office Services, Hospitality & Retail, and Personal Services collectively employ approximately 395,000 individuals, representing nearly 43% of all workers in the region. All three occupational clusters are 10% more concentrated within the Rural Capital Area and Travis County relative to the US average.

Other leading occupations clusters with the region include Medical (79,000 workers), Computer (65,000), and Education (60,000). Computer occupations are more than twice as concentrated in the Rural Capital Area and Travis County compared to the US average. Education employment is approximately 10% more concentrated among Rural Capital Area and Travis County workers relative to the US average.

The occupations forecast to experience the greatest level of growth within the Rural Capital Area and Travis County include both large and small clusters. Medical occupations are projected to be the fastest growing cluster in the region. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of workers in the Rural Capital Area and Travis County employed in Medical occupations is expected to increase 17%. Although it is one of the smallest clusters in the region, Architecture employment is forecast to rise 15% during the next five years. Rural Capital Area and Travis County employment in the much larger Hospitality cluster is expected to grow 14% through 2019. While other clusters are projected to post more modest growth rates, every single occupation is projected to experience an increase in employment between 2014 and 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not sure how to read a bubble chart? Click here for a how-to.

Click here to see the numbers behind the chart and a breakdown by county.

Williamson County is the most populous suburban county in the Austin metropolitan area, with a population of 471,000 people and 139,000 jobs. The county has grown much faster than the metro and U.S.: the population grew 56% from 2003-2013 and job base grew 69%.

According to estimates from the Census, Williamson County is well-educated: 93% of residents have at least a high school degree and 38% have a Bachelor's degree or higher. These educational attainment statistics are significantly higher than both the State of Texas (81% high school, 26% Bachelor's) and the U.S. average (86% high school, 29% Bachelor's). (American Community Survey, Williamson County)

Williamson County's median household income has remained above the national average for many years, and was 139% of U.S. median household income in 2012.

The Williamson County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 7.3% in 2009 to 5.9% in 2012. The county rate has been consistently lower than the U.S. rate.

The largest industries in Williamson County are:

• Trade, Transportation, & Utilities – 28% of county employment • Government – 15% • Leisure & Hospitality -12% • Professional & Business Services – 12% • Health Services – 10%

Read Williamson County's full profile here.

A new year brings new employment projections. Although 2015 has barely begun, we can already begin looking ahead and identifying employment sectors that will support additional job growth throughout the Rural Capital Area.

Over the next five years, nearly all employment clusters in the Rural Capital Area are projected to experience employment gains. Private Education is expected to be the single fastest growing employment cluster in the region (most education employment is accounted for in Government). Between 2014 and 2019, the number of Private Education jobs in the Rural Capital Area is expected to rise more than 27%. Two manufacturing clusters, Automotive and Furniture, are also projected to support strong job growth at 23% and 22%, respectively. Additional sources of job growth include traditional areas of strength in the Rural Capital Area such as Research (20% growth), Health Care (20%), and Transportation & Logistics (20%).

Due to their relatively large size, many slower growing employment clusters are projected to create the largest number of new jobs within the Rural Capital Area through 2019. Retail employment is expected to increase by more than 8,750 jobs during the next five years. Industrial Machinery Manufacturing and Health Care are also expected to create a significant number of jobs within the Rural Capital Area, at 6,100 and 5,500, respectively. Both Construction and Back Office Support clusters are projected to create more than 2,000 jobs each.

Strong job growth among some of the leading employment clusters within the Rural Capital Area will further solidify existing strengths. With an LQ of 3.1, Industrial Machinery Manufacturing is already one of the most relatively concentrated employment sectors within the Rural Capital Area. With an LQ of 1.3, Retail employment in the region is 30% more concentrated compared to the US average. Furniture Manufacturing, which is also expected to enjoy strong growth through 2019, is 20% more concentrated compared to the US average. Other relatively concentrated employment clusters include Mining & Logging (3.3 LQ) and Construction (1.5 LQ). Government, Energy, Aerospace, & Electronics Manufacturing are also more concentrated in the Rural Capital Area compared to the US average.

Click here to see the industry cluster bubble charts or tables on detailed industries.

With the cost of higher education continuing to soar, some observers have begun to question the value of a college degree. The average cost of attending a private college now exceeds $30,000 annually. Is it worth it?

Recently published data from the US Census Bureau clearly demonstrates the value of a college education. This is especially true in the Rural Capital Area. Without exception, unemployment rates for college graduates in Rural Capital Area counties are lower than the unemployment rates for individuals with a high school diploma. In Bastrop County, for example, the unemployment rate for college graduates is less than half that of high school graduates (10.1% versus 3.8%). In Caldwell County, the unemployment rate for high school graduates is nearly three times higher than those with a high school diploma. Even in Hays County, which has a proportionally large population of recently graduated students, college graduates outperform their less educated peers in the job market.

Since the recession, the unemployment rate for individuals with only a high school degree has fallen farther than the rate for college graduates – primarily due to the higher starting unemployment rate for high school graduates. In Caldwell County, for example, the unemployment rate of high school graduates declined more than 7 percentage points between 2011 and 2013 (years are trailing 3-year averages). Travis County witnessed the second-largest point drop for high school grads. Bastrop County saw its unemployment rise for both education levels.

Even at the height of the recession, college graduates fared well. There wasn't a single county in the Rural Capital Area where the unemployment rate of college graduates surpassed 4.5%. Additionally, many college educated individuals in the Rural Capital Area must compete with the continual influx of talent that migrates to the region each year. Still, there can be no doubt that education pays in the Rural Capital Area.

 

Newly published data by the US Census Bureau provides new insight on the size of the limited English proficiency (LEP) population living in the Rural Capita Area.

English is the only language spoken at home for nearly 80% of individuals age 5 and older living in the Rural Capital Area. Approximately 17% of the area's population resides in homes where Spanish is spoken. Contrary to many stereotypes, Spanish speaking households are typically home to people with excellent English speaking abilities. In the Rural Capita Area, for example, nearly 95% of individuals living in Spanish speaking homes speak English “very well.”

While Spanish remains the predominant second language in the Rural Capital Area, Asian languages are growing in importance. According to the report, “Chinese and Vietnamese LEP speakers in Williamson County have passed the critical ‘1,000 LEP speaker' threshold signifying a significant LEP population.”

For more information on the Rural Capital Area's limited English proficiency population, click here to see the full report from Workforce Solutions.

Lee County is a small county in central Texas, with a population of 16,600 people and 6,500 jobs. The county's population grew just 3% from 2003-2013 and job base grew 28%.

Lee County's median household income was below the national average from 2002-2012, and was 97% of U.S. median household income in 2012.

Lee County has had average economic growth over the past decade, generally mirroring U.S. growth rates. Lee County struggled slightly with the recession, losing 240 jobs in 2009, enjoyed a sizable job creation rate from 2010 to 2012, and lost 14 jobs in 2013.

The Lee County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 6.6% in 2010 to 4.7% in 2013. The county rate has been consistently lower than the U.S. rate.

The largest industries in Lee County are:

  • Construction– 24% of county employment
  • Government – 19%
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 18%
  • Natural Resources and Mining – 10%
  • Manufacturing – 7%
Read Lee County's full profile here.

Poverty rates in the Rural Capital Area have been historically lower than the US average: latest available figures for all 9 counties show that the RCA poverty rate of 11.4% in 2012 was 4.5 percentage points lower than the US rate of 15.9%. Child poverty in the RCA is 33% higher than the overall rate, while the US child poverty rate is 42% higher than the US average for all ages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New data from the American Community Survey provides a deeper examination of poverty trends in the Rural Capital Area. While only 6 of 9 counties have data published by the Census Bureau (small populations in some counties limit the availability of granular statistics), clear trends emerge:

  • Children have the highest poverty rate of all age groups: Child poverty stands at 14% in 2013, an increase from 12.9% in 2010.
  • Poverty for retirees is quite low and falling: Just 5.9% of residents 65 or older are in poverty, a slight decline from 6.4% in 2010.
  • Poverty rates are growing fastest for the working-age population: Residents 18-64 years of age saw poverty rates increase 11% over three years, while children saw poverty rates increase 9%; retiree poverty rates fell 1%.
Poverty rates between genders show some variation. The male poverty rate is 10.9%, while female poverty is 12.2%. The increase in poverty was comparable for each gender over the last three years.

Affordability is a complex issue with many influencing variables – from education levels, to access to jobs, to cost of living. In the Rural Capital Area, several trends point to a slight worsening in affordability:

  • Rental costs are rising. The number of renters that spend 30% or more of their income on housing (a federal affordability threshold) is growing. 65% of Hays County renters now spend above this threshold (which is driven in part by the large student population), versus 48% for the US on average. Change in affordability since 2010 varies by county, with some counties worsening (including Hays) and others improving, such as Bastrop.
  • Longer commute times represent a hidden cost to affordability. As congestion worsens, workers spend more time in traffic and spend more money on gasoline and car maintenance. 47% of Hays County workers commute 30 minutes or more each day, versus 35% for the typical US worker. 41% of Williamson County residents commute 30 minutes or more, an increase from 38% in 2010.
Some trends point to improvements in affordability:
  • Health insurance coverage is improving. With the Affordable Care Act and falling unemployment rates, more and more residents are enjoying health care coverage. Variations across counties continue: While 85% of Williamson County residents have insurance coverage, just 77% have coverage in Bastrop County.
  • Education levels are improving. Residents are becoming more educated across all counties with few exceptions, which should lead toward higher paying jobs, better affordability, and lower poverty rates.
We will continue to monitor metrics that influence the affordability of our region as our economic growth continues.

Catch up on Rural Capital Headlight news with our most popular articles of 2014:

1. Population in the Rural Capital Area Surpasses 850,000; Hays and Williamson Counties Lead Growth

2. Commuting Residents in the Rural Capital Area Transfer Nearly $8 Billion in Income Across County Lines

3. 100 jobs that bring the highest salaries

4. NEW DATA: Rural Capital Headlight Adds New Cluster Data and Forecasts

5. Growth Seen Across All Industries in the Rural Capital Area Except Government, but Average Salaries Decline

6. These are the 100 highest-paying jobs in Austin

7. Rural Capital Area Growing Twice as Fast as the US

8. Unemployment Rate in the Rural Capital Area Falls to 5.1%

9. Texas has 8 of top 15 fastest-growing cities in US

10. Liberal Arts and Business Degrees Lead Region's College Output; Technical Degrees Show Flat to Negative Growth

The Rural Capital Area has an overall population of 878,000 people and 253,000 jobs. The area has grown faster than the U.S.: the population grew 40% from 2003-2013 and job base grew 51%.

The Rural Capital Area's economy has performed very well over the past decade, creating new jobs every year except one. The Rural Capital Area has weathered the recession well, losing just 2,300 jobs in 2009 and adding 29,000 jobs from 2011 to 2013.

The Rural Capital Area unemployment rate has fallen from a peak of 7.2% in 2010 to 5.2% in 2013. The area rate has been consistently lower than the U.S. rate.

The largest industries in the Rural Capital Area are:

• Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 26% of area employment • Government– 18% • Leisure and Hospitality – 13% • Health Services – 11% • Professional and Business Services– 9%

Read Rural Capital Area's full profile here.

The Rural Capital Area's economy proved relatively resilient during the recession. Even at the height of the economic downturn, job losses in the Rural Capital Area proved relatively small compared to the nation as a whole. Throughout the recession, the Rural Capital Area's unemployment rate remained lower than the US average.

Despite the relative strength of the Rural Capital Area, however, thousands of workers within the region either lost their jobs or suffered significant reductions in income during the recession. In 2007, prior to the recession, unemployment insurance payments within the Rural Capital Area were less than $35 million. By 2010, such payments exceeded $185 million. Earned income tax payments experienced a similar increase. The program, which is available to employed workers with low to moderate incomes, disbursed approximately $75 million in 2007. In 2010, Rural Capital Area residents received more than $115 million in earned income tax credits.

Since the recession, growth throughout the Rural Capital Area has helped create new job opportunities for unemployed residents and allowed low- to moderate-income workers to increase their earnings. In 2012, earned income tax credit payments within the Rural Capital Area declined for the first time in five years. Unemployment insurance payments in the Rural Capital Area fell 16.5% between 2011 and 2012, the second consecutive decline. As the Rural Capital Area's economy continues to gather steam, further declines in unemployment insurance payments and earned income tax credits will likely be even more pronounced.

The Veteran and Industry Partnership (VIP) program is a new training initiative designed to help veterans and their spouses get the advanced training they need for employment in an information technology occupation. Austin Community College (ACC) will administer the VIP training for the information technology occupations and the training will be provided on an accelerated basis, with an emphasis on immediate job placement upon completion and at no cost to the veteran or spouse.

Training programs offered include: Computer User Support Specialists, Network Administrators, Web Developers, and Information Security Analysts. For more information, contact:

Heather Bonham, Austin Community College 512-223-0128 hbonham@austincc.edu

This press release is from the Texas Workforce Commission.

AUSTIN – The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) awarded more than $60 million in state and federal funding to a network of 35 education, workforce and non-profit entities to deliver enhanced Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) services across the state. Funding these programs marks the final phase of the AEL program's transition from the Texas Education Agency to TWC.

“Education and skills attainment are key to the continued success of the Texas workforce and economy,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “At TWC we are committed to building partnerships that continue to provide high quality adult education opportunities along with implementing innovative and integrated learning and skills training models. I congratulate these new grantees.”

The programs funded will include adult basic education, high school equivalency preparation, English as a Second Language services, and a family and financial literacy curriculum, as well as distance learning options to increase access to the programs. These programs must provide transition and career pathway programs in collaboration with community colleges, employers or other training providers.

“These programs will allow hard working Texans to improve their skills and their careers,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “I urge Texans interested in accessing these programs to contact their local Workforce Solutions office for more information.”

TWC allocated an additional $2.1 million across the provider network to support system integration and quality of services for local professional development services.

“Employers need educated, skilled workers to ensure success in their ventures and Adult Education and Literacy efforts throughout the state are preparing skilled and work-ready individuals for the workforce,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Hope Andrade. “TWC is proud to work with our local partners as we move forward with these integrated and enhanced programs.”

Veterans and spouses, join the Texas Workforce Commission, Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area and their partners for the Hiring Red, White & You! statewide hiring fair. The fair is designed to connect Texas veterans and spouses with area employers looking for qualified candidates to fill a variety of positions.

The event will take place at the United Heritage Center at the Dell Diamond, 3400 E. Valley Blvd. in Round Rock, Texas on November 13, 2014 from 9 am to Noon.

This event is hosted by Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area. For more information, call (512) 244-2207, ext 1049.

Employment in the Rural Capital Area totaled nearly 260,000 in the first quarter of 2014. On a year-over-year basis, job growth in the Rural Capital Area reached 4.5%, more than twice the rate of overall employment growth in the US. The Rural Capital's rate of job creation has exceeded the US average every year since 2011.

Employment gains within the Rural Capital Area have been broad-based, with job creation occurring in virtually every industry. The performance of the Rural Capital Area's Manufacturing sector, however, has been especially remarkable.

Between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014, Rural Capital Area manufacturing created nearly 5,000 jobs, an increase of more than 30%. Manufacturing employment in the Rural Capital Area is now 60% higher than in 2010. The growth of manufacturing in the Rural Capital Area was 10 times greater than the national average between Q1 2010 and Q1 2014.

This press release is from the Texas Workforce Commission.

AUSTIN – Labor market figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) today showed that in September 2014, the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Texas exceeded 13 million individuals for the first time ever, at 13,005,600. The civilian labor force comprises those individuals in Texas either working or looking for work.

“This milestone is the latest positive news for the Texas economy,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “Our skilled, diverse, and growing civilian labor force is key to the successful business climate that makes Texas the best place to live, work, and grow a business. I'm proud of the Texas workforce.”

Texas' unemployment rate, which is the percentage of the civilian labor force that is unemployed, was 5.2 percent in September, down from 6.3 percent over the year and below the national unemployment rate of 5.9 percent. The civilian labor force first exceeded 12 million individuals in July of 2009.

“There is no limit to what we can accomplish with a labor force of 13 million hardworking Texans,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “Our mission is to ensure that every one of them either has a good job or can find one. With a strong economy and local partners committed to helping job seekers, we can make that happen.”

The growth in Texas' civilian labor force has coincided with growth in businesses and jobs. Over the last year, every major industry in the state has shown positive growth, with seven major industries growing at or above 3.0 percent. There are currently nearly 485,000 employers in Texas.

“A milestone civilian labor force in Texas is a tremendous economic asset as we expand our pipeline of skilled, work-ready individuals for Texas employers as they continue to grow and create jobs here in the Lone Star State,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Hope Andrade.

Job seekers can visit www.WorkInTexas.com, the premier job search engine for Texas, and can also visit their local Workforce Solutions office (which can be found on the Locations page at www.texasworkforce.org).

Employment estimates released by TWC are produced in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. All estimates are subject to revision. To access this and more employment data, visit www.tracer2.com.

This press release is from the Texas Workforce Commission.

AUSTIN – The Texas labor market added 20,100 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs in August. Over the year, employers expanded their payrolls by 395,200 total non-farm jobs.

The unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in August, up slightly from 5.1 percent in July. It remained below the national unemployment rate of 6.1 percent.

“Texas added 20,100 jobs in August, with the private sector showing steady monthly growth for well over four years,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Andres Alcantar. “We encourage Texas veterans to visit their local Workforce Solutions office to take advantage of the many tools and services that allow them to translate their military skills and experience into good-paying civilian jobs.”

Goods Producing industries in Texas accounted for a majority of the growth in August. Construction added 6,900 jobs over the month. Manufacturing employers added 1,800 jobs in August. Mining and Logging increased by 4,500 jobs, and notably grew by 9.1 percent over the last 12 months.

“We're seeing growth in several service industries including Education and Health Services, which increased by 7,500 positions in August,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “Texas boasts a quality skilled labor force, and I encourage those looking for new opportunities to visit WorkInTexas.com.”

Professional and Business Services industries led the way in jobs added over the month, expanding by 8,700 positions. Annual growth in this industry was up to 5.0 percent in August.

“Every major industry in Texas showed positive annual growth and Texas employers added 395,200 jobs over the year, achieving an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Hope Andrade. “I commend Texas employers for continuing to grow their investments in the Lone Star State.”

The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had the lowest August unemployment rate in the state at 2.8 percent. The Odessa MSA came in second at 3.4 percent and the Amarillo MSA ranked third at 4.0 percent (not seasonally adjusted).

Hays County is a populous suburban county in the Austin metropolitan area, with a population of 176,000 people and 55,000 jobs. The county has grown faster than the metro and the U.S.: the population grew 51% from 2003-2013 with the job base growing 49%.

According to the Census, Hays County is well-educated: 90% of residents had at least a high school degree and 38% had a Bachelor's degree or higher. These educational attainment statistics are higher than both Texas' average (81% High School, 26% Bachelor's) and the U.S. average (86% high school, 29% Bachelor's). (American Community Survey, Hays County)

Hays County's median household income remained just above the national average for many years, and was 109% of U.S. median household income in 2012.

The largest industries in Hays County are:

• Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 26% of county employment • Government– 21% • Leisure and Hospitality– 14% • Health Services – 11% • Manufacturing– 7%

Read Hays County's full profile here.

One measure of an economy's strength is its ratio of workers to population. The more income-generating workers live in an area, the higher the consumer spending levels and tax revenue. The labor force participation rate (workers/population) in the Rural Capital Area in 2013 stood at 48.4%, or 48 workers (either employed or unemployed) per 100 residents. By comparison, the US rate was much lower: 45.5%.

The labor force participation rate is affected by the number of people who choose to be in the workforce, as well as the demographics of the population. The rate is lower when an area has higher numbers of stay-at-home spouses, children, and retirees, but also by the number of “discouraged” workers – those that drop out of the labor force when they can't find a job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trends in the participation rate point towards a steady decline over the last 10 years for both the Rural Capital Area and US. When the recession hit, the US witnessed a significant drop in its participation rate, from 48.5% in 2007 to 45% three years later. The Rural Capital Area experienced only a modest drop – an indication that the economy remained relatively strong and few discouraged workers left the workforce.

 

 

 

 

 

Much of the decline in the participation rate in the Rural Capital Area can be attributed to the growth in the child, youth, and retiree populations. As shown in the table below, the retiree population grew fastest over the last five years in Williamson County (119%), Hays County (96%), and Blanco County (88%). Several counties have surprisingly low growth in children and youth (less than 25 years of age): Blanco (0%), Fayette (2%), and Llano (4%).

Overall in the Rural Capital Area, the retiree population grew more than twice as fast as the children and youth demographic (71% versus 32%). The overall size of the working age population is growing faster than the children and youth population – a good sign that productivity in the Rural Capital Area will continue to grow.

Recent headlines point to a sizable drop in the US unemployment rate this year. How has the Rural Capital Area performed? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases monthly unemployment estimates that tell how many people are looking for jobs and how many people are actively participating in the workforce. The unemployment rate in the Rural Capital Area in August 2014 was 4.7%, much lower than the US rate of 6.3%.

 

 

 

 

 

The unemployment rate has slowly declined in the Rural Capital Area from a peak of 7.7% (when 30,000 were unemployed) in January 2010. Currently 21,500 workers are unemployed in the Rural Capital Area.

Unemployment rates show some variation within the Rural Capital Area. The counties with highest unemployment rates are Caldwell County (5.6%), Bastrop County (5.4%), and Llano County (5.1%). Rates are lowest in Fayette County (3.8%) and Lee County (4.0%). These low unemployment rates are reflective of the strong employment growth seen across the region and tightening labor markets.

Rural Capital Child Care Services has OPEN ENROLLMENT for Subsidized Child Care for children 0-12 years old. The Rural Capital Board provides access to long term, full year, child care assistance to parents who meet the federal and state eligibility requirements found on the Board's website: http://www.workforcesolutionsrca.com/child-care/parents/

Unfortunately we do not reach every parent who may be eligible for these important services. So, we need your help. Please help us get the word out to the parents who may be eligible in your communities.

From 2008 to 2013, 4-year bachelor's degree output in the region increased by:

  • 410 Health Care additional graduates (46% growth)
  • 390 Engineering graduates (27%)
  • 180 Family Development graduates (31%), and
  • 160 Software graduates (26%)
Health Care was the #1 fastest-growing bachelor's degree cluster in both total increase in graduates and percentage growth. Several small degree clusters led growth on a percentage basis:
  • Agriculture: 195 bachelor's graduates in 2013 and 36% growth in 5 years
  • Mathematics: 318 graduates, 34% growth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For 2-year associate degrees, topline increases were led by Liberal Arts (728 additional graduates for 32% growth), a sign that more students are receiving an associate degree and plan to transfer to complete a 4-year degree. Other high-growth associate degree clusters are:

  • Health Care, with 300 additional graduates (33% growth)
  • Government & Social Work, with 160 additional graduates (61% growth)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See the full data in the table below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View additional charts on clusters by degree level in the Rural Capital Area here.

Across institutions serving the 9-county Rural Capital Area and Travis County, the output of graduating students reached an all-time high in 2013 at 35,700 graduates. Growth in graduate output has slowed somewhat in recent years, increasing by nearly 1,000 graduates in 2013, a 2.7% growth rate.

In the last 10 years, the output of graduates has increased 40%, delivering 10,000 new graduates into the central Texas economy. At the award level, certificates of 1-2 years grew the fastest in 2013 (8%), followed by bachelor's degrees (5%) and master's degrees (3%). The number of short-term certificates fell the most, by 16% over 2012, and associate degrees fell 1%.

Over a 10 year period, most growth in topline degree output has been driven by expansion of bachelor's programs. However, certificates of 1-2 years grew by 126% over ten years, followed by associate degrees (59%) and certificates of less than 1 year (44%).

Visit Rural Capital Headlight to see degree trends by individual institution, major, and award level.

Note: The 10-county regional aggregation includes the following institutions that serve the Rural Capital Area and Travis County: The University of Texas at Austin, Austin Community College District, Southwestern University, Texas State University-San Marcos, Concordia University Texas, Huston-Tillotson University, Saint Edward's University, Blinn College, Central Texas College, Temple College, Victoria College, Allied Health Careers, ITT Technical Institute-Austin, Southern Careers Institute Inc, Southwest Institute of Technology, Virginia College-Austin, Capitol City Careers, Capitol City Trade and Technical School, Everest Institute-Austin.

Burnet County is a mid-sized suburban county in central Texas, with a population of 43,800 people and 12,600 jobs. The county's population grew 14% from 2003-2013 and job base grew 16%.

According to the Census, 85% of Burnet County residents had at least a high school degree and only 22% had a bachelor's degree or higher. These educational attainment statistics are slightly lower than the U.S. average (86% high school, 29% bachelor's). (American Community Survey, Burnet County)

Burnet County's median household income has remained slightly under national averages for the past decade, and was 97% of the US level in 2012.

Burnet County's economy has performed well over the past decade, creating new jobs every year except three. Burnet County has weathered the recession moderately well, losing 560 jobs in 2009 but gaining jobs the following two years.

The Burnet County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 6.2% in 2010 and 2011 to 5% in 2013. The county rate has been consistently lower than the U.S. rate.

The largest industries in Burnet County are:

• Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 21% of county employment • Government– 19% • Leisure and Hospitality – 14% • Health Services – 11% • Professional and Business Services– 9%

Read Burnet County's full profile here.

Salaries in the Rural Capital Area are below U.S. levels in all industries except Trade, Transportation, & Utilities, Manufacturing, and Other Services.

The average salary in the RCA is 87% of the U.S. average and from 2003-2013 grew 32%, the same as the U.S. growth rate.

Salaries in seven sectors grew faster than the national rate during this period:

• Manufacturing – 101% growth • Other Services – 64% • Professional and Business Services – 50% • Health Services – 42% • Leisure and Hospitality – 40% • Government – 37% • Construction – 37%

No salaries declined from 2003-2013 in either the United States or the Rural Capital Area. A significant portion of regional salary declines occurred between 2000 and 2003 during the tech bubble crunch. From 2003 to 2010, average salary growth has roughly matched U.S. growth until slight salary drops in 2009 and 2013 of 1.1% and 1.0%, respectively.

Per Capita Income in the Rural Capital Area has remained below the U.S. average for the past 10 years, reaching 88% of U.S. Per Capita Income in 2012. As with Salary Levels, Per Capita Income saw regional declines in 2001 and 2002, but otherwise roughly matched U.S. growth trends between 2001 and 2011, including a decline of 3% in 2009.

Read Rural Capital Area's full Wage & Income Trends Profile here.

Trades occupations are great career options, as they require short-term training that immediately provides better, higher paying job opportunities. Often a 1-year certificate is sufficient, while some trades occupations require a 2-year associate's degree. Trades occupations are in high-demand due to our region's fast growth.

The trades occupations in the Rural Capital Area with the most anticipated job openings include:

  • Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters
  • Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics
  • Industrial Machinery Mechanics
  • Machinists
  • Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers
These jobs all pay between $18 and $24 per hour.

Click here to learn more about Hot Careers in the Rural Capital Area.

Bachelor's degrees prepare students for careers that have a wide range of earning potential. Many management positions in Engineering, Computers, and Marketing don't require more than a bachelor's degree, but managers usually require 5 or more years of work experience.

The highest paying jobs for recent bachelor's degree graduates are in technology fields:

  • Software Developers
  • Computer Network Architects
  • Biomedical Engineers
  • Petroleum Engineers
  • Computer Hardware Engineers
  • Sales Engineers
Non-technology occupations that pay well include:
  • Actuaries
  • Management Analysts
  • Financial Analysts
  • Logisticians (Supply Chain)
  • Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists
What bachelor's degree occupations pay the least? Primarily, those in social work:
  • Recreation Workers
  • Psychiatric Technicians
  • Library Technicians
  • Education Administrators for Preschool
  • Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors
  • Social and Human Service Assistants
  • Coaches and Scouts
Click here to learn more about Hot Careers in the Rural Capital Area.

Now that it's back-to-school time, we've crunched the numbers and created several “Top Careers” lists for the 9-county Rural Capital Area. Each list fits a different level of education or interest. Click a link below to download a PDF.

Fastest Growing Occupations

Occupations with the Most Job Openings

Occupations Creating the Most New Jobs

Highest Paying Occupations that require a Bachelor's Degree

Lowest Paying Occupations that require a Bachelor's Degree

Highest Paying Occupations that require an Associate's Degree

Lowest Paying Occupations that require a Associate's Degree

STEM Occupations with the Most Job Openings

Trades Occupations with the Most Job Openings

Personal Service Occupations with the Most Job Openings

Highest Paying Medical Occupations that require Less than a Bachelor's Degree

Highest Paying Occupations that require only a High School Diploma or Less

Or visit Rural Capital Headlight to learn more about careers in the Rural Capital Area.

The Rural Capital Area (RCA) is a nine county region with a population of 878,000 in central Texas surrounding Austin, the state capital.

The RCA has grown more rapidly than the U.S. for the past decade, growing 40%. The regional population growth rate reached its lowest level in 2012 at 2.3%, still over three times the U.S. rate of growth.

The RCA's population growth has historically been driven by migration of people from across the U.S.: in the last decade, 72% of new population was due to domestic migration. Migration has declined in recent years but still outpaces births: in 2013 17,500 people moved to the Rural Capital Area and 10,700 births occurred.

Williamson County is the most populous county in the Rural Capital Area with 54% of residents, followed by Hays County (20%), Bastrop County (9%), Burnet County (5%), and Caldwell County (4%). Population has grown in all regional counties over the past decade, but was highest in Williamson County and Hays County, where the number of residents grew 56% and 51% respectively.

Read the full Demographic Trends Profile here.

The Rural Capital Area has an overall population of 878,000 people and 253,000 jobs. The area has grown faster than the U.S.: the population grew 40% from 2003-2013 and job base grew 51%.

The Rural Capital Area's median household income has consistently been higher than the national average for the past decade and was 121% of the U.S. level in 2012.

The Rural Capital Area's economy has performed very well over the past decade, creating new jobs every year except one. The Rural Capital Area has weathered the recession well, losing just 2,300 jobs in 2009 and adding 29,000 jobs from 2011 to 2013.

The Rural Capital Area unemployment rate has fallen from a peak of 7.2% in 2010 to 5.2% in 2013. The area rate has been consistently lower than the U.S. rate.

The largest industries in the Rural Capital Area are:

• Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 26% of area employment • Government– 18% • Leisure and Hospitality – 13% • Health Services – 11% • Professional and Business Services– 9%

View Rural Capital Area's full profile here.

Recently released data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that 8 out 9 counties increased their employment base in 2013. The counties that grew the fastest (on a percentage basis, in order) were Bastrop, Hays, Williamson, Caldwell, and Burnet counties.

Williamson County continues to create the most new jobs (5,600 in 2013), followed by Hays (2,700) and Bastrop (960).

Economic drivers of growth varied greatly across the Rural Capital Area. Financial Services was the fastest-growing industry (on a percentage basis) in Caldwell, Lee, and Llano counties. Mining was the fastest-growing industry in Fayette and Williamson counties. Construction led growth in Burnet and Hays counties. Blanco County's fastest-growing industry was Health Care. Leisure & Hospitality led growth in Bastrop County.

Still, the large size of some industries means that most jobs across Rural Capital Area counties were created in Leisure & Hospitality and Retail Trade. However, Williamson County's growth is now being led by Professional & Business Services (which includes software and some Dell functions).

Overall, the Rural Capital Area economy continues its strong recovery from the recession and most counties (7 of 9) are enjoying economic growth that is higher or on par with the US.

The retiree population (ages 65 years or more) grew 7% in 2013 in the Rural Capital Area. Growth in this age group was faster than all other age groups in all 9 counties except two: Burnet and Fayette, where ages 15-24 grew fastest. This trend is similar to growth seen across the US, with retiree population growing the fastest, followed by the 15-24 age group.

Five counties experienced drops in the youngest demographic, ages 0-14: Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, and Lee counties. The US followed a similar pattern, losing 0.1% of population in this demographic as well.

The young professional demographic, ages 25-44, grew fastest in Hays, Williamson, Llano, and Caldwell counties. Only Burnet and Fayette counties experienced a drop in their overall working-age population, ages 25-64.

Population growth in Hays County continues to outpace all other counties on a percentage basis (4.1%), while Williamson County attracted the most new residents (nearly 15,000).

Fayette County is a small, rural county in Central Texas with a population of 25,000 people and 8,600 jobs. The county's population grew 11% from 2002 to 2012 and job base grew just 4%.

Fayette County's median household income has remained below the U.S. average for the past decade, and was 91% of the U.S. level in 2012.

Fayette County's economy has performed on par with the U.S. over the past decade, creating new jobs every year except three. Fayette County has struggled with the recession, losing 440 jobs in 2009 and another 110 jobs in 2010 but gaining 200 in 2012.

The Fayette County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 6.0% in 2010 to 4.8% in 2012. The county rate has been consistently lower than the U.S. rate.

The largest industries in Fayette County are:

• Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 24% of county employment • Government– 18% • Health Services– 12% • Leisure and Hospitality – 12% • Manufacturing – 10%

Read Fayette County's full profile here.

Caldwell County is a small county in Central Texas with a population of 38,000 people and 7,800 jobs. The county's population grew 12% from 2002- 2012 and job base grew 22%.

Caldwell County's median household income has remained under national averages for the past decade and was 84% of the U.S. level in 2012.

Caldwell County's economy has enjoyed sporadic growth over the past decade, creating new jobs every year except three and generally outpacing U.S. growth. Caldwell County has struggled slightly with the recession, losing jobs in 2006 and 2009, but returning to positive growth from 2010-2012.

The Caldwell County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 8.8% in 2010 to 7.0% in 2012. The county rate has been slightly lower than the U.S. rate since 2007.

The largest industries in Caldwell County are:

• Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 23% of county employment • Government– 22% • Health Services – 18% • Leisure and Hospitality – 9% • Manufacturing– 8%

Read Caldwell County's full profile here.

Llano County is a small rural county in central Texas, with a population of 19,000 people and 4,000 jobs. The county's population grew 8% from 2002-2012 and job base grew 5%.

The county's modest population growth is due to the migration of people into the county: from 2002 to 2012, 1400 net new residents entered the county. Llano County has a significantly older population. According to the Census, 31% of Llano County's population are residents between 45 and 64 years of age (versus 27% for the U.S.) and 30% of county residents are 65 years or older (versus 13% for the U.S.).

Llano County's median household income remained below the national average for many years, and was 86% of U.S. median household income in 2012. The Llano County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 7.6% in 2010 to 6.5% in 2012. The county rate has been lower than the U.S. rate since 2006.

The largest industries in Llano County are:

• Leisure and Hospitality– 28% of county employment • Government – 19% • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 18% • Health Services – 12% • Construction– 7%

Read Llano County's full profile here.

The Rural Capital Area employs 243,000 people in a diverse range of industries. The largest industries in the RCA are:

• Trade, Transportation, & Utilities – 26% of employment • Government – 19% • Leisure & Hospitality – 12% • Health Services – 11% • Professional & Business Services – 9%

All industry sectors grew in the Rural Capital Area between 2002 and 2012.The fastest growing sectors during this period were Professional and Business Services (+91% growth), Leisure and Hospitality (+77%), and Other Services (+76%). These regional sectors all grew faster than the national rates, which were 12%, 15% and 7% growth respectively.

Employment is spread roughly proportional to residency across the Rural Capital Area. Williamson County hosts the greatest number of jobs with 134,000 and 55% of regional employment. The next largest employment counties are Hays County with 22% of regional jobs and Bastrop County with 6%. Employment has grown in all counties between 2002 and 2012, but growth was greatest in Williamson County (69%), Hays County (44%), Lee County (28%), and Bastrop County (27%).

Read the full Industry Trends Profile here.

Government transfer payments to Rural Capital Area residents reached $4.4 billion in 2012 and represent a growing source of personal income in the region. Between 2007 and 2012, government transfers of funds to individuals increased 42% on an inflation-adjusted basis compared to less than 20% for all other forms of income.

Demographic factors are the primary driver in the growth of government payments to individuals living in the Rural Capital Area. A growing elderly population, for example, has resulted in the sustained growth in Social Security and Medicare payments. These two programs, which represent more than 80% of government transfers to individuals, rose nearly 35% between 2007 and 2012.

Economic forces as well as US military engagements have also contributed to the rise in government payments to individuals. Unemployment income, for example, soared 265% between 2007 and 2012. Veterans' benefits increased nearly 60%. They now represent the third-largest category of government payments after Social Security and Medicare.

Despite these increases, government transfer payments only provide less than 14% of the region's total income, which includes wages, benefits, and investment income.

Per capita personal income in the Rural Capital Area hit an all-time record in 2012 according to recently released data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. Per capita personal income for people living in the region reached nearly $38,500, growing by $850 over 2011. Previously, per capita personal income peaked in 2008 and then declined.

Increases in income, combined with continued population growth, have fueled significant growth in the Rural Capita Area's total personal income. In 2012, personal income in the region reached $32.8 billion. On an inflation-adjusted basis, this represents an infusion of an additional $5.4 billion annually into the Rural Capita Area compared to 2007.

The Rural Capital Area's economic resiliency and sustained population increases will likely drive further growth in personal income in the years ahead.

Older residents are increasingly continuing to work past the traditional age of retirement. During the past five years, the proportion of workers age 65 and older increased at both the national and regional level. In 2012, nearly one in four residents in the region age 65 and older worked at some point during the previous 12 months.

Rising rates of employment, combined with the growing population of individuals age 65 and older, has resulted in a significant increase in the actual number of older workers. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of workers age 65 and older rose nearly 60% in the Austin region. The increase was just 14% in the US.

The growing population of older workers is changing the composition of the local workforce. In 2002, barely 11% of workers in the Rural Capital Area were 55 years or older. By 2011, the figure had increased to more than 17%.

While some of the increase in older workers may be the result of diminished income associated with the recession, local evidence suggest many individuals willingly choose to continue their careers past the age of 65. Since 2007, the region has enjoyed one of the country's strongest economies. During this period, the local increase in the proportion of older residents continuing to work was more than double the US average.

Furthermore, the region is home to one of the country's fastest growing populations of individuals between the ages of 55 and 64, so called “pre-seniors.” As a result, the importance of older residents within the workforce is likely to continue to grow in the years ahead.

The US is close to marking an important milestone on the long road to economic recovery. April's strong job numbers put the country within striking distance of surpassing pre-recessionary peak employment levels.

In January 2008, total employment in the US reached 138.4 million. During the next two years, the US lost 8.7 million jobs. Since 2010, US employment has slowly rebounded. In April, total employment reached 138.3 million. Barring a calamitous jobs report, May's employment figures should mark a new record.

As psychologically encouraging as the milestone may be at the national level, the Rural Capital Area blew past its pre-recessionary peak employment level years ago. Year-over-year employment in the region has increased for 44 consecutive months; the Rural Capital Area hasn't suffered a year-over-year employment decline since August 2010.

Total employment in the Rural Capital Area is currently 20% higher than in January 2008. If only the US could be so resilient.

Communities throughout the US, including the Rural Capital Area, are embracing the growing importance of trades occupations in the economy. Trades occupations typically provide workers with living wages and require short-term technical certifications and/or on-the-job training. Additionally, many trades occupations provide workers with job security. Plumbers and electricians, for example, can't be offshored.

Currently, the State of Texas and the 9-county Rural Capital Area region are targeting more than two dozen trades occupations. Representative jobs include engineering technicians, industrial machinists, electricians, and plumbers. Such workers are employed in industries such as construction, manufacturing, and logistics.

Wages among trades workers average nearly $18.50 an hour, slightly below the regional average. The most skilled workers, however, can earn significantly higher wages. Average hourly wages among the top 10% of trades workers in the Rural Capital Area, for example, earn more than $26 an hour.

Between 2013 and 2018, targeted trades occupations in the Rural Capital Area are forecast to grow 2.8% annually, comparable to growth in the rest of the economy. The region is projected to increase employment in targeted trades occupations by more than 1,650. Growth is expected in every targeted occupation.

However, these projections underestimate the true number of actual job openings that will exist in the coming years. Simply put, many trades occupations are currently filled by older workers that are set to retire soon. Two-thirds of tool grinders in the US, for example, are older than 55. Nearly half of tool and die makers are older than 55, as are 42% of construction & building inspectors. These large outflows of workers due to retirement will create sizeable opportunities for individuals that seek a new career in trades occupations.

Williamson County is the most populous suburban county in the Austin metropolitan area, with a population of 456,000 people and 134,000 jobs. The county has grown much faster than the metro and U.S.: the population grew 57% from 2002-2012 and job base grew 69%.

The county's population growth is primarily due to the migration of people into the county: from 2002 to 2012, 71% of new population was due to domestic migration. Over the 10 year period, 108,000 net new migrants moved to the county.

Williamson County's median household income has remained above the national average for many years, and was 139% of U.S. median household income in 2012.

The Williamson County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 7.3% in 2009 to 5.9% in 2012. The county rate has been consistently lower than the U.S. rate.

The largest industries in Williamson County are:

• Trade, Transportation, & Utilities – 29% of county employment • Government – 16% • Leisure & Hospitality -12% • Professional & Business Services – 11% • Health Services – 10%

Read Williamson County's full profile here.

Salaries in the Rural Capital Area are below U.S. levels in all industries except Trade, Transportation, & Utilities, Manufacturing and Other Services.

The average salary in the RCA is 89% of the U.S. average and from 2002-2012 grew 39%, more than the U.S. growth rate of 34%. Salaries in eight sectors grew faster than the national rate during this period:

• Manufacturing – 120% growth • Other Services – 63% • Financial Activities – 48% • Professional and Business Services – 48% • Health Services – 46% • Leisure and Hospitality – 41% • Government – 39% • Construction – 35%

No salaries declined from 2002-2012 in either the United States or the Rural Capital Area. A significant portion of regional salary declines occurred between 2000 and 2003 during the tech bubble crunch. From 2003 to 2010, average salary growth has roughly matched U.S. growth until slight salary drops in 2009 and 2010 of 1.1% and 1.6% respectively.

Per Capita Income in the Rural Capital Area has remained below the U.S. average for the past 10 years, reaching 89% of U.S. Per Capita Income in 2012. As with Salary Levels, Per Capita Income saw regional declines in 2001 and 2002, but otherwise roughly matched U.S. growth trends between 2001 and 2011, including a decline of 3% in 2009.

Read the full Wage & Income Trends Profile here.

Blanco County is a small, rural county in central Texas, with a population of 11,000 people and 3,000 jobs. The county has grown slower than the U.S.: the population grew 22% from 2002-2012 and job base grew 15%.

Blanco County's population growth is primarily due to the migration of people into the county: from 2002 to 2012, 78% of new population was due to domestic migration. Births slightly outpaced deaths over the period. Migration into the county has risen in recent years, accounting for 44% of growth from 2010 to 2012.

Blanco County's median household income has remained slightly under national averages for the past decade but grew to 103% of the U.S. level in 2012.

The Blanco County unemployment rate has fallen from its decade-high of 6.2% in 2010 to 5.2% in 2012. The county rate has been consistently much lower than the U.S. rate.

The largest industries in Blanco County are:

• Government – 21% of county employment • Professional and Business Services– 16% • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 14% • Leisure and Hospitality – 13% • Construction– 12%

Read Blanco County's full profile here.

The Rural Capital Area (RCA) is a nine county region with a population of 853,000 in central Texas surrounding Austin, the state capital.

The RCA has grown more rapidly than the U.S. for the past decade, growing 46%. The regional population growth rate reached its lowest level in 2012 at 2.3%, still over three times the U.S. rate of growth.

The RCA's population growth has historically been driven by migration of people from across the U.S.: in the last decade, 72% of new population was due to domestic migration. Migration has declined in recent years but still outpaces births: in 2012 12,300 people moved to the Rural Capital Area and 10,800 births occurred.

Williamson County is the most populous county in the Rural Capital Area with 53% of residents, followed by Hays County (20%), Bastrop County (9%), Burnet County (5%), and Caldwell County (5%). Population has grown in all regional counties over the past decade, but was highest in Williamson County and Hays County, where the number of residents grew 57% and 51% respectively.

Read the full Demographic Trends Profile here.

The Rural Capital Area will continue to see growth over the next five years, as the needs of a growing population require more work in occupations such as Medical Equipment Repairs, Home Health Aides, Construction Trades, Education, and Personal Services.

An analysis of the Rural Capital economic forecast for 2013-2018 points to a diverse mix of high-growth occupations (a minimum employment threshold was set to 50 employees):

  • Medical Equipment Repairers top the list of fastest-growing occupations (on a % basis), with 55% growth over the next five years
  • Various construction trades such as Brick Masons, Drywall Installers, Stonemasons, and Insulation Installers are in the Top 20 and will grow 28%-48%
  • Home Health Aides and Nurse Practitioners are in the Top 10 and will grow 40% and 32%, respectively
  • Photographer employment is expected to grow 32%
  • Education and Social Service occupations that made the Top 20 list include Rehabilitation Counselors (31%), Special Education Teachers (29%-31%), and Coaches & Scouts (29%)
The following two charts show which occupations will grow the fastest both in terms of percentage and net new jobs created.

Click here to explore more data on occupation forecasts by county for the Rural Capital Area.

Bastrop County is a growing suburban county in central Texas, with a population of 75,000 people and 14,000 jobs. The county has grown slightly slower than the metro and the U.S.: the county's population grew 17% from 2002-2012 and job base grew 27%.

The county's population growth has historically been driven by migration of people into the county: from 2002 to 2012, 62% of new population was due to domestic migration. However, migration into the county has declined and even turned negative in 2012, likely due to the out-migration of families after the Bastrop fires in late 2011.

Bastrop County has a diverse age range of population and is home to a large concentration of families. According to the Census, 21% of Bastrop County's population are children under 15 years of age (versus 20% for the U.S.) and 29% of county residents are between 45 and 64 years old (versus 27% for the U.S.). As a result, the county has higher concentrations of both young adults and the elderly residents than the nation. Of the total population, 90% were born in the United States, with 10% born abroad. Of the foreign-born population, 86% are not naturalized US citizens.

Bastrop County's population is 60% White, 30% Hispanic, 8% Black, and 1% Asian. The three largest ancestral groups are German, English, and Irish.

According to the Census, Bastrop County education levels trail the U.S. average: 82% of residents in 2012 had at least a high school degree and only 14% had a Bachelor's degree or higher. These educational attainment statistics are significantly lower than the U.S. average (86% high school, 29% Bachelor's). (American Community Survey, Bastrop County)

Bastrop County's median household income has remained just above the national average for many years, but fell to 97% of U.S. median household income in 2012.

The percent of overall population in poverty in Bastrop County has remained slightly under national trends over the past decade. Between 2002 and 2012 overall population in poverty in Bastrop County rose slightly from 12.3% to 14.3%. The percentage of children in poverty in Bastrop county rose faster than the county as a whole, rising from 15.9% in 2002 to 23% in 2012.

Bastrop County's economy has performed very well over the past decade, creating new jobs every year until 2011. Bastrop County has weathered the national recession well, adding 400 jobs in 2009 and 2010, despite losing 250 in 2011. The most recent year of complete data, 2012, showed a positive rebound.

The Bastrop County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 8.3% in 2010 to 6.4% in 2012. The county rate has been lower than the U.S. rate since 2006.

Read Bastrop County's full profile here.

Which occupation clusters are growing the fastest and which are most concentrated in the Rural Capital Area? We can examine clusters along a new dimension: the location quotient, which describes the per capita density of a cluster in a local economy. Looking at the 25 major clusters in the following bubble chart, we see that large clusters with high location quotients include Education, Hospitality, Computer, Construction, and Personal Services. These clusters have much higher density in the Rural Capital Area and are growing quickly. Some under-represented clusters such as Medical, Financial, and Social Services are catching up to serve a commuter population that now demands these services closer to home (in particular, the Williamson County population that commutes into Travis County). Other under-represented but high-potential clusters include Logistics, Engineering, Production, and Manufacturing, which continue to seek lower-cost locations in high-growth population areas. Performance (Entertainment) occupations are extremely high growth and reflect a growing set of entertainment options across the Rural Capital Area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to explore more data on occupation cluster forecasts by county for the Rural Capital Area.

The future of the Rural Capital economy will be characterized by a much more diversified set of high growth industries than in past years. The Rural Capital Area of today now enjoys more developed support industries in Health Care, Construction, Education, and Retail.

An analysis of 122 sub-clusters in the RCA economy points to a diverse mix of high-growth industries (a minimum employment threshold was set to 250 employees):

  • Private education at the K-12 level tops the list of fastest-growing sub-clusters (on a % basis); public education is in the Top 20.
  • Computer Manufacturing, Electronics Sales, and Data Centers are in the Top 5 and will grow 27%-32% over the next five years.
  • Warehousing and Public Transit are in the Top 10 and will both grow 26%.
  • Software is expected to grow 25%.
  • Other manufacturing clusters that joined the Top 20 list and will experience high growth: Commercial Equipment (24%) and Packaged Foods (22%)
  • Employment at Physician's Offices will grow 22%.
  • Two cultural industries, Performing Arts and Sports, will see employment grow by more than 20%.
The following two charts show which sub-clusters will grow the fastest both in terms of a percentage and net new jobs created.

Which clusters are the most competitive in the Rural Capital Area? We can examine clusters along a new dimension: the location quotient, which describes the per capita density of a cluster in a local economy. Looking at the 25 major clusters in the following bubble chart, we see the Industrial Equipment (which includes Dell) has a location quotient of 3.3, which means 3 times the number of employees in the industry is found in the Rural Capital Area compared to the US average. Building Construction, Retail, Culture/Hospitality, and Education round out the top 5 most concentrated in the Rural Capital Area economy.

Explore more forecast data for the Rural Capital Area and its counties.

Recent forecasts from EMSI, a national data provider, suggest the next five years will bring extremely high employment growth across most of the Rural Capital Area. The region is expected to grow 17% from 2013 to 2018, nearly three times faster than US growth of 6%.

Williamson County will continue to lead the pack with 18% growth, but will be followed closely by Caldwell County and Lee County (17% growth for both). Bastrop, Blanco, Hays, and Llano will all grow at 16%. Laggards in the region will still outpace US growth – Burnet (11%) and Fayette (7%).

Still, a majority of new jobs will be created in Williamson County. Of the 41,000 new jobs to be created across the Rural Capital Area, nearly 25,000 of the jobs will be in Williamson County.

At the national level, EMSI forecasts 8.2 million new jobs in the US over the next five years.

Explore more forecast data for the Rural Capital Area and its counties.

The OECD released a shocking report comparing the literacy and math skills of adults in the US versus other countries. They found that "One in six adults have low literacy skills – in Japan the comparable figure is one in 20. Nearly one in three have weak numeracy skills against a cross country average of one in five." The report pointed to a weak education system that succeeds in providing high levels of educational achievement (the US has one of the highest percentage of adults with post-secondary education), but weaknesses in basic skills. Read the full report from OECD here.

The changing role of women has reshaped the landscape of the American labor force. Fifty-eight percent of women in the US age 16 and over participate in the labor force (working or looking for work). This includes 57 percent of White women, 60 percent of Black women, 57 percent of Hispanic women, and 57 percent of Asian women.

Our nation's 67 million working women hold nearly half of today's jobs. Of these 67 million working women, about 52.8 million are White, 8.6 million are Black, and 3.6 million are Asian. Women of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity (who may be of any race) make up 9.2 million of the 67 million women workers.

Read the full report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics here.

The Center for Public Policy Priorities released Investing in Our Future: 2013 State of Texas Children, Texas KIDS COUNT Annual Data Book, which takes a decade-long look at the effects our public policy choices have had on the well-being of the 6.9 million kids who live in Texas. This year's analysis shows that child poverty continues to increase despite economic recovery, underscoring the need for Texas to make greater investments that move children and their families into the middle class. The report finds that outcomes for kids in health, education, nutrition, and safety often hinge on whether or not they live in poverty.

The State of Texas Children annual data book is part of the KIDS COUNT Project, a national and state-by-state effort to track the well-being of children. Texas KIDS COUNT provides data on more than 70 measures of child well being and is a resource to help create, implement, and encourage good policy and effective services to better the lives of Texas children.

Read the full report from The Center for Public Policy Priorities here.

For the first time in more than 15 years, the gender pay gap for Texas women has dipped below the national average gender pay gap.

The average working woman in Texas earned only 79 percent of her male counterparts in 2012, according to a report issued Monday by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That's a decline in gender-pay-equality of more than a 5 percentage points compared to the previous year, and its lowest level since 2001. Over the last two years, the ratio of women's to men's earnings has dropped by 6 percentage points in Texas.

Read the full article in the Austin Business Journal.

Rags-to-riches stories are more prevalent in Hollywood than in reality according to a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts that examines the common traits of those who are able to escape poverty.

The "Moving On Up" study concludes that 43 percent of Americans raised at the bottom of the income ladder remain there as adults and 70 percent never completely make it to the middle class.

Fortunately, graduating from college, living in a dual-income household and being continuously employed significantly reduce the chances people have of remaining poor, according to the study.

By contrast, only 55 percent of non-college graduates, 49 percent of single-earner families, and 34 percent of people who experienced unemployment move up from the bottom quintile.

Read the full brief from The Pew Charitable Trusts here.

New analysis by Rural Capital Headlight shows much diversity across the Rural Capital Area, with each county registering unique high-concentration industry clusters. The analysis pulled the top 5 industries for each of the 9 Rural Capital counties with the highest location quotient (LQ), which measures the per capita density in the county versus the US average. Typically, industries with a high LQ are viewed as clusters that are highly competitive in the county. Industries that employed relatively few people but had a high LQ were removed (employment limits were 50 workers for the industry in micro counties; 100 in small counties; and 250 in medium counties). The tables below show each county's list along with the industry's LQ, employment, and ranking for the LQ against all other US counties in that population size range (see previous article to see which size group each county is in).

Rankings of #1 versus peer counties were found in Hays County (Clothing Stores) and Williamson County (Merchant Wholesales, Durable Goods, i.e., Dell).

Other notable high rankings include:

  • Beverage Manufacturing in Blanco County
  • Mineral Manufacturing (Clay Products) and Building Materials Stores in Bastrop County
  • Waste Management Services in Burnet County
  • Oil/Gas Pipelines in Caldwell County
  • Telecommunications Services in Fayette County
  • Rental Services in Lee County
  • Food and Beverage Stores (Retailers) in Llano County

 

 

 

New analysis by Rural Capital Headlight shows remarkable swings in economic performance across counties in the Rural Capital Area. This analysis ranks each county against its peers based on population size, with lower numbers indicating higher rankings.

Fast-growing Hays and Williamson counties have typically seen rankings within the Top 5% over the past 10 years. Williamson achieved a #1 ranking in 2011 after falling to the 20th percentile in 2010. Last year, Williamson stood at the 11th percentile. Hays has consistently been in the Top 10% over the last 7 years, with the exception of 2008 when its ranking fell dramatically to the 86th percentile.

Lee County has experienced remarkable improvement in recent years, rising from the 57th percentile in 2009 to the 8th percentile in 2010 and 2nd percentile in 2011. Lee stood at the 8th percentile in 2012.

Caldwell County ranked third highest among Rural Capital counties in 2012, followed by Llano County, Fayette County, and Blanco County. Bastrop and Burnet counties are the only two counties ranking in the bottom half of their size categories.

 

The 9-county Rural Capital Area registered gross sales of $30 billion in 2012 according to the Texas Comptroller's Office. Sales grew by $2.7 billion in 2012, registering a 10% growth rate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rural Capital Area economy has more than doubled in just the last 10 years, growing from $14.7 billion in 2002.

Gross Sales is a measure that is reported by the Texas Comptroller's Office and includes entities with sales permits, whether or not they are taxable. While it does not include all businesses, it reflects a good measure of the overall economy.

Recently released data from the US Census shows that the population of the 9-county Rural Capital Area reached 853,200 on July 1, 2012. Williamson County remains the largest community, with 456,000 persons. Hays is the second-largest county, with 169,000 persons, followed by Bastrop with 75,000.

Two counties registered as the fastest growing in the region from 2011-2012: both Hays and Williamson grew 3.2%. Three other counties registered growth at or above the US average: Blanco, Caldwell, and Llano counties. Three counties lost population: Bastrop, Fayette, and Lee.

Overall, population growth in the Rural Capital Area has slowed slightly. The region grew 2.3% from 2011-2012, its slowest growth rate in decades. Just 19,400 new people were added to the region in 2012. The primary cause of this slowdown is a slight decline in people moving into the region.

The Rural Capital Area's Asian population grew 5.6% in 2012, the fastest of all races. The Hispanic population came in a close second, with 5% growth.

Overall, Hispanics now account for 25% of total population, with Whites accounting for 65%. The Black population registers at just under 6% and the Asian population is approaching 3%.

Varying levels of diversity are seen across the region. The largest Hispanic populations – as a percent of total – are found in Caldwell County (45%), Hays County (33%), and Bastrop County (30%). The largest Black populations are in Lee County (11%), Bastrop County (8%) and Caldwell and Fayette counties (both 7%). Williamson County has the far largest Asian population (4%), with Bastrop and Hays counties registering 1%.

 

Texas Workforce Commission

AUSTIN — The Texas economy added 19,900 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs in July for a total of 293,000 jobs added since July 2012. Texas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady in July at 6.5 percent. Texas' unemployment rate remained below the nation's July unemployment rate of 7.4 percent.

“As of July, Texas has maintained a positive annual growth rate for 39 straight months,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Andres Alcantar. “Financial Activities led the way in July with 9,000 added jobs; the largest monthly increase in that major industry since 1998. We encourage job seekers to visit their local Workforce Solutions office to find current employment opportunities.”

This was the sixth monthly gain in the past seven months for Financial Activities. The monthly growth brings the over-the-year total jobs added in the industry to 19,000.

“It's good to see growth across several different fields—in particular Mining and Logging, which includes jobs in the oil and gas industries,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “That industry grew by 8,000 jobs in July alone and has grown by almost 6 percent in the last year.”

Information employment surged in July with the addition of 4,800 positions. This industry has grown by 6,300 jobs over the last year for an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities also saw positive job gains over the month in Texas, adding 3,200 jobs for a total of 53,000 jobs added over the year.

“The private sector continues to lead the way for our state's economy, adding more than 278,000 jobs over the last year,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Hope Andrade. “Our 3.1 percent annual growth rate compares favorably to 2.1 percent for the private sector nationally.”

The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had the lowest July unemployment rate in the state at 3.5 percent. The Odessa MSA came in second at 4.2 percent and the Amarillo MSA third at 5.1 percent (not seasonally adjusted).

Audio downloads from TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar on the latest labor market data are available at: www.texasworkforce.org/news/press/2013/press-releases-2013.html#pressReleaseAudio.

The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org.

This article is from Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area Recent News.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases monthly unemployment estimates that help track the state of the economy. The latest data appears to show a continued slow and steady recovery in the Rural Capital Area and nationally. The unemployment rate in the Rural Capital Area fell to 5.7% in July of 2013, down from 6.4% in July of 2012 - a drop of 0.7 percentage points. Although it remains well above Rural Capital Area levels, the national unemployment rate declined at a slightly faster rate, falling 0.9 percentage points over the past year from 8.6% to 7.7%. Currently, 25,500 workers are unemployed in the Rural Capital Area.

 

 

 

 

 

Unemployment rates show variation between counties in the Rural Capital Area, but no counties have rates higher than the national average and all counties have seen declines over the past year. The counties with unemployment rates above the regional average are Caldwell County (7.7%), Bastrop County (6.9%), and Llano County (6.5%). Counties with well below average unemployment rates include Fayette County (4.7%) and Lee County (4.8%).

Recently released data show that more than 63,000 sole proprietorships in the Rural Capital Area earned nearly $2.7 billion in 2011. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, most firms that don't have salaried staff are self-employed individuals operating unincorporated businesses (known as sole proprietorships), which may or may not be the owner's principal source of income. The majority of all business establishments in the United States are nonemployers, yet these firms average less than 4 percent of all sales and receipts nationally.

Growth in sole proprietorships in the Rural Capital Area is currently on par with US growth, rebounding more quickly after the recession. Within the region, Williamson County is growing the fastest at 2.7% in 2011, followed by Burnet and Caldwell counties at 1.5%. Bastrop and Llano counties experienced negative growth in 2011.

Revenues per sole proprietorship in the Rural Capital Area vary between $40-$50,000/year, with some retailers such as gas stations, household appliances, and farm supplies making between $150-$200,000/year. The industry with the most sole proprietorship revenue is Construction ($609 million in 2011), led by residential building. Professional Services ranks #2, followed by Specialty Trade Contractors, Real Estate Leasing companies, and Facilities Maintenance.

The degree output of colleges serving the Capital Area Region (Rural Capital Area plus Travis County) reached nearly 35,000 completions in the 2011-12 school year. Liberal Arts** led with 6,000 degree completions, Business with 5,600, and Health Care with 5,200.

Technical degrees in Engineering, Software and Math amounted to a combined total of 5,500 completions, but growth in these fields was flat to negative from the previous year. More importantly, these technical fields experienced significant positive growth at the US level. This is an indication that the Capital Area Region's supply of technical workers may grow even tighter in the near term.

Strong growth in college output was seen in Agriculture, Architecture, Legal and Business fields.

Note: Some institution data include campuses outside the Capital Area Region (as in the case of Victoria College) or include large numbers of online degrees, which are not reported separately.

**Liberal Arts includes studies not classified elsewhere, primarily General Studies, Multi-Interdisciplinary Studies, History, Spanish, and Anthropology.

Enrollment of college students in the Rural Capital Area and Travis County (schools serving these areas) dipped slightly in 2012 after steady growth since 2006. The recent recession led to a surge in enrollment as students eyed education as a means to a better job and delayed graduation to wait for the economy improve. Graduations (degree completions) have seen steady growth since dipping in 2007 due to recession fears.

Nearly 35,000 students finished degrees at institutions serving the Capital Area. This was led by the University of Texas and Texas State University, which graduated 14,000 and 7,100 students, respectively, in 2012. Of the top 5 institutions, only ACC saw double-digit growth in graduations in 2012.

Graduation rates vary widely, with 4 students per degree completion at the University of Texas versus 27 for ACC. Technical schools, with their shorter degrees of 1 - 2 years, have the lowest ratios of enrollment to completions.

Note: Some institution data include campuses outside the Rural Capital Area (as in the case of Victoria College) or include large numbers of online degrees, which are not reported separately.

Last week, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released employment data for the 4th Quarter and annual average of 2012, revealing strong growth across the Rural Capital Area, particularly at the end of the year. From 2011 to 2012, annual employment in the Rural Capital Area grew nearly double the US rate: 3.3% in the RCA compared to 1.8% nationally. When comparing end of year employment from Q4-2011 to Q4-2012, growth was even stronger, with RCA employment growing 4.3% over the year – over double the US rate of 1.8%.

When comparing 4th quarter employment gains from 2011 to 2012, all counties in the Rural Capital Area performed stronger than their annual averages. The fastest growing counties in the region over this period were Lee County (7.9% growth), Hays County (5.8%), Caldwell County (5.3%), Llano County (4.1%) and Williamson County (3.9%). Bastrop County and Burnet County particularly finished strong at the end of 2012, growing 3.8% and 1.6% year-to-year in the 4th quarter compared to only 0.7% and -1.1%, respectively in the yearly average.

Complete 2012 employment data released last week shows the Rural Capital Area continuing to create jobs nearly twice as quickly as the US over the past year, with growth occurring in all industries except Government. In 2012, employment in the Rural Capital Area grew 3.3%, creating over 7,600 jobs. The fastest growing industries all outpaced their US equivalents: Health Services & Private Education (8.4% RCA vs. 1.9% US), Leisure & Hospitality (4.8% RCA vs. 3.3% US) and Manufacturing (4.7% RCA vs. 1.7% US).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trade, Transportation & Utilities, the largest industry in the Rural Capital Area, picked up speed in the 4th quarter of 2012, leading to overall growth of 4.0% for the year. Government, the second largest industry in the Rural Capital Area, was the only industry to lose jobs from 2011 to 2012, with employment dropping by 2.2% - a greater decline than the US average of 0.8%. Construction was the only industry in the Rural Capital Area that did not outpace US average growth over this period. Construction employment grew 2.0% in the RCA compared to 2.1% nationally. Construction and Manufacturing are the only industries in the Rural Capital Area with employment still below 2007 Pre-Recession levels, so positive growth in both industries is highly encouraging.

Austin Business Journal / US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) produces annual wage estimates for 22 major employment sectors and more than 800 individual occupations. Below are two lists of newly released 2012 figures for the Austin market (officially known as the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX, metropolitan area).

The first list shows the average annual pay for all employees within each of the market's 22 major sectors. The second list shows the area's 100 highest-paying individual occupations, again based on average annual pay.

Each sector and occupation is followed by its six-digit NAICS code in brackets. All sector and occupation titles are the bureau's official designations.

22 major sectors (ranked by average annual pay) in Austin

1. Management Occupations [11-0000], $108,330 2. Legal Occupations [23-0000], $85,770 3. Computer and Mathematical Occupations [15-0000], $84,120 4. Architecture and Engineering Occupations [17-0000], $76,580 5. Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations [29-0000], $71,990 6. Business and Financial Operations Occupations [13-0000], $67,180 7. Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations [19-0000], $59,470 8. Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations [27-0000], $52,530 9. Education, Training, and Library Occupations [25-0000], $50,190 10. Community and Social Service Occupations [21-0000], $42,870 11. Protective Service Occupations [33-0000], $42,410 12. Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations [49-0000], $41,670 13. Sales and Related Occupations [41-0000], $41,530 14. Construction and Extraction Occupations [47-0000], $35,400 15. Office and Administrative Support Occupations [43-0000], $34,950 16. Production Occupations [51-0000], $32,960 17. Transportation and Material Moving Occupations [53-0000], $30,000 18. Healthcare Support Occupations [31-0000], $29,380 19. Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations [45-0000], $24,080 20. Personal Care and Service Occupations [39-0000], $23,710 21. Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations [37-0000], $23,030 22. Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations [35-0000], $20,780

100 highest-paying occupations (ranked by average annual pay) in Austin

1. Pediatricians, General [29-1065], $211,210 2. Dentists, General [29-1021], $202,850 3. Obstetricians and Gynecologists [29-1064], $191,140 4. Family and General Practitioners [29-1062], $188,870 5. Chief Executives [11-1011], $188,360 6. Physicians and Surgeons, All Other [29-1069], $173,850 7. Nurse Anesthetists [29-1151], $150,540 8. Petroleum Engineers [17-2171], $144,040 9. Actuaries [15-2011], $139,270 10. Sales Managers [11-2022], $136,630 11. Architectural and Engineering Managers [11-9041], $136,600 12. Psychiatrists [29-1066], $134,860 13. Purchasing Managers [11-3061], $133,050 14. Computer and Information Systems Managers [11-3021], $132,910 15. Compensation and Benefits Managers [11-3111], $132,860 16. Economics Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1063], $129,210 17. Marketing Managers [11-2021], $128,210 18. Financial Managers [11-3031], $126,260 19. Podiatrists [29-1081], $124,770 20. Natural Sciences Managers [11-9121], $122,800 21. Business Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1011], $121,920 22. Education Administrators, Postsecondary [11-9033], $119,030 23. Pharmacists [29-1051], $116,560 24. Public Relations and Fundraising Managers [11-2031], $115,770 25. General and Operations Managers [11-1021], $114,680 26. Managers, All Other [11-9199], $114,670 27. Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1032], $112,830 28. Veterinarians [29-1131], $111,950 29. Human Resources Managers [11-3121], $111,900 30. Physics Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1054], $108,690 31. Lawyers [23-1011], $106,780 32. Political Science Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1065], $106,750 33. Computer Network Architects [15-1143], $105,940 34. Computer and Information Research Scientists [15-1111], $104,940 35. Physician Assistants [29-1071], $104,370 36. Biomedical Engineers [17-2031], $104,130 37. Training and Development Managers [11-3131], $102,000 38. Software Developers, Systems Software [15-1133], $101,250 39. Industrial Production Managers [11-3051], $100,780 40. Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators, and Hearing Officers [23-1021], $100,070 41. Engineers, All Other [17-2199], $99,810 42. Computer Hardware Engineers [17-2061], $99,150 43. Sales Engineers [41-9031], $98,710 44. Software Developers, Applications [15-1132], $98,540 45. Materials Scientists [19-2032], $98,050 46. Administrative Services Managers [11-3011], $97,680 47. Chemistry Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1052], $96,060 48. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers [11-3071], $95,930 49. Electronics Engineers, Except Computer [17-2072], $94,640 50. First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives [33-1012], $93,650 51. Information Security Analysts [15-1122], $93,430 52. Environmental Engineers [17-2081], $93,230 53. Physicists [19-2012], $92,620 54. Civil Engineers [17-2051], $92,150 55. Chemical Engineers [17-2041], $92,060 56. Financial Analysts [13-2051], $91,890 57. Management Analysts [13-1111], $91,530 58. Optometrists [29-1041], $91,260 59. Electrical Engineers [17-2071], $90,940 60. Psychologists, All Other [19-3039], $90,870 61. Commercial Pilots [53-2012], $88,910 62. Medical and Health Services Managers [11-9111], $88,540 63. Health and Safety Engineers, Except Mining Safety Engineers and Inspectors [17-2111], $88,050 64. Biochemists and Biophysicists [19-1021], $87,310 65. Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates [23-1023], $86,490 66. Operations Research Analysts [15-2031], $85,890 67. Industrial Engineers [17-2112], $85,510 68. First-Line Supervisors of Non-Retail Sales Workers [41-1012], $85,040 69. Computer Programmers [15-1131], $84,310 70. Media and Communication Equipment Workers, All Other [27-4099], $84,040 71. Computer Occupations, All Other [15-1199], $83,640 72. Education Administrators, All Other [11-9039], $83,580 73. Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products [41-4011], $82,940 74. Computer Systems Analysts [15-1121], $82,420 75. Occupational Therapists [29-1122], $82,410 76. Logisticians [13-1081], $82,000 77. Dental Hygienists [29-2021], $81,670 78. Physical Therapists [29-1123], $81,380 79. Personal Financial Advisors [13-2052], $80,300 80. Mechanical Engineers [17-2141], $79,590 81. Construction Managers [11-9021], $79,450 82. Geography Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1064], $79,420 83. Cost Estimators [13-1051], $78,830 84. Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists [19-1042], $78,190 85. Database Administrators [15-1141], $78,130 86. First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers [33-1021], $77,020 87. Court Reporters [23-2091], $76,760 88. Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers [19-2042], $76,670 89. Financial Examiners [13-2061], $76,610 90. Nurse Practitioners [29-1171], $76,490 91. Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other [17-3029], $75,810 92. Electrical and Electronics Drafters [17-3012], $75,060 93. Occupational Health and Safety Specialists [29-9011], $74,960 94. Business Operations Specialists, All Other [13-1199], $74,050 95. Postmasters and Mail Superintendents [11-9131], $74,030 96. Advertising and Promotions Managers [11-2011], $73,940 97. Media and Communication Workers, All Other [27-3099], $73,930 98. Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School [11-9032], $73,300 99. Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents [41-3031], $72,750 100. Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists [13-1161], $71,940

This article is from Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area Recent News

Microfirms (companies with less than ten employees) represent the core of American industry, comprising over 74% of all firms in the country. Microfirm concentration serves as a strong reflection of a community's entrepreneurial and startup strength.

The Rural Capital Area has a slightly higher share of microfirms than the US average, and the number of microfirms in the Rural Capital Area is growing as they shrink nationally. The Rural Capital Area has 11,800 microfirms, approximately 75% of all firms in the region. The number of microfirms in the Rural Capital Area grew 0.9% from 2010 to 2011, slower than overall firms, which grew 2.3%, but still above the US microfirm decline of 0.7%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Within the Rural Capital Area, Williamson County has the highest share of microfirms (78% of all firms), followed by Llano County (76%), Bastrop County (73%) and Burnet County (73%). The number of microfirms in the Rural Capital Area grew most quickly in Llano County (5.5% growth), followed by Lee County (3.1%), Bastrop County (2.8%) and Williamson County (2.3%).

Microfirms in the Rural Capital Area are spread across many industries, but a significant share of microfirms are engaged in various professional, financial, and administrative industries; construction and trades; and personal and food services.

The Top 10 Rural Capital Area Industries by Microfirm Employment in 2011

  1. Professional & Technical Services (1,570 firms; 5% growth)
  2. Specialty Trade Contractors (900; -4%)
  3. Ambulatory Health Care Services (810; 0%)
  4. Real Estate (570; -2%)
  5. Administrative & Support Services (550; 3%)
  6. Food Services & Drinking Places (540; 5%)
  7. Membership Associations & Organizations (490; 1%)
  8. Construction of Buildings (410; -8%)
  9. Repair & Maintenance (400; -3%)
  10. Personal & Laundry Services (380; 5%)

Texas Workforce Commission

AUSTIN — Texas' seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment expanded by 33,100 jobs in April. Texas added 326,100 jobs from April 2012 to April 2013. The state's annual growth rate in April stood at 3.0 percent, and has been above 2.5 percent since the beginning of 2012. Texas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in April at 6.4 percent. It remains well below the nation's April unemployment rate of 7.5 percent.

“All major industries in Texas added jobs over the last 12 months and our civilian labor force is at an all-time high with more than 12.7 million workers,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Andres Alcantar. “This is an encouraging period of growth for our state and we will work with our partners to keep Texas the top choice for business in the country.”

Over the month, eight of the 11 major industries in Texas saw positive growth. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities added 16,000 jobs in April. The state's largest industry, it has grown by 58,400 jobs over the year.

“We're continuing to see strong growth in the Construction industry, which is driven in part by our state's growing population and expanding businesses,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “Over the year, Construction has been the state's fastest growing major industry, with a 7.1 percent annual growth rate.”

Mining and Logging, which includes oil and gas related jobs, has added 16,800 jobs over the year, including 2,500 in April. Professional and Business Services increased employment by 8,000 jobs in April, for a total of 62,000 jobs added over the year. Education and Health Services expanded for the ninth month in a row with 1,900 positions added, while Information employment rose by 1,400 jobs. Financial Activities expanded by 1,300 payroll jobs.

“The private sector continues to drive job growth here in Texas, adding more than 28,000 jobs in April, for a boost of more than 300,000 positions over the year,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Hope Andrade. “I applaud the efforts of private sector employers to expand opportunities for Texas workers and encourage them to utilize TWC as a resource.”

The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had the lowest April unemployment rate in the state at 3.0 percent. The Odessa MSA came in second at 3.7 percent and the Amarillo MSA third at 4.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted).

Audio downloads from TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar on the latest labor market data are available at: www.texasworkforce.org/news/press/2013/press-releases-2013.html#pressReleaseAudio.

The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org.

This article is from Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area Recent News.

Austin Business Journal / US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics produces annual wage estimates for more than 800 individual occupations. Below are the 100 highest-paying jobs in the nation, based on average annual pay.

1. Anesthesiologists [29-1061], $232,830 2. Surgeons [29-1067], $230,540 3. Obstetricians and Gynecologists [29-1064], $216,760 4. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons [29-1022], $216,440 5. Internists, General [29-1063], $191,520 6. Orthodontists [29-1023], $186,320 7. Physicians and Surgeons, All Other [29-1069], $184,820 8. Family and General Practitioners [29-1062], $180,850 9. Psychiatrists [29-1066], $177,520 10. Chief Executives [11-1011], $176,840 11. Prosthodontists [29-1024], $168,120 12. Pediatricians, General [29-1065], $167,640 13. Dentists, All Other Specialists [29-1029], $164,780 14. Dentists, General [29-1021], $163,240 15. Nurse Anesthetists [29-1151], $154,390 16. Petroleum Engineers [17-2171], $147,470 17. Architectural and Engineering Managers [11-9041], $133,240 18. Podiatrists [29-1081], $132,470 19. Lawyers [23-1011], $130,880 20. Natural Sciences Managers [11-9121], $130,400 21. Marketing Managers [11-2021], $129,870 22. Computer and Information Systems Managers [11-3021], $129,130 23. Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers [53-2011], $128,760 24. Financial Managers [11-3031], $123,260 25. Sales Managers [11-2022], $119,980 26. Air Traffic Controllers [53-2021], $118,430 27. Law Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1112], $115,550 28. Physicists [19-2012], $114,150 31. Optometrists [29-1041], $109,810 32. Human Resources Managers [11-3121], $109,590 33. Public Relations and Fundraising Managers [11-2031], $108,260 34. Nuclear Engineers [17-2161], $107,140 35. Advertising and Promotions Managers [11-2011], $107,060 36. Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers [19-2042], $106,780 37. Actuaries [15-2011], $106,680 38. Purchasing Managers [11-3061], $106,200 39. Compensation and Benefits Managers [11-3111], $105,920 40. Managers, All Other [11-9199], $105,650 41. Aerospace Engineers [17-2011], $104,810 42. Political Scientists [19-3094], $104,600 43. Computer Hardware Engineers [17-2061], $103,980 44. Training and Development Managers [11-3131], $103,810 45. Computer and Information Research Scientists [15-1111], $103,670 46. Software Developers, Systems Software [15-1133], $102,550 46. Astronomers [19-2011], $102,550 48. Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates [23-1023], $102,470 49. Chemical Engineers [17-2041], $102,270 50. Mathematicians [15-2021], $101,280 51. Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents [41-3031], $100,910 52. Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1071], $100,370 53. Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1032], $100,100 54. Economists [19-3011], $99,480 55. Education Administrators, Postsecondary [11-9033], $99,370 56. Sales Engineers [41-9031], $99,290 57. Industrial-Organizational Psychologists [19-3032], $98,800 58. Medical and Health Services Managers [11-9111], $98,460 59. Economics Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1063], $97,770 60. Industrial Production Managers [11-3051], $97,490 61. Marine Engineers and Naval Architects [17-2121], $96,140 62. Electronics Engineers, Except Computer [17-2072], $95,250 63. Art Directors [27-1011], $94,260 64. Computer Network Architects [15-1143], $94,000 65. Physical Scientists, All Other [19-2099], $93,720 66. Engineers, All Other [17-2199], $93,330 67. Physician Assistants [29-1071], $92,460 70. Producers and Directors [27-2012], $92,390 71. Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1051], $91,930 72. Electrical Engineers [17-2071], $91,810 73. Nurse Practitioners [29-1171], $91,450 74. Personal Financial Advisors [13-2052], $90,820 79. Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School [11-9032], $90,800 80. Atmospheric and Space Scientists [19-2021], $90,010 81. Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators, and Hearing Officers [23-1021], $89,970 82. Materials Scientists [19-2032], $89,740 83. Biochemists and Biophysicists [19-1021], $89,470 84. Financial Analysts [13-2051], $89,410 85. Information Security Analysts [15-1122], $89,290 86. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers [11-3071], $88,920 87. Administrative Services Managers [11-3011], $88,660 88. Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes [13-1011], $88,620 89. Physics Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1054], $88,470 90. Management Analysts [13-1111], $88,070 91. Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists [19-1042], $87,830 92. Materials Engineers [17-2131], $87,490 93. Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1042], $87,060 94. Psychologists, All Other [19-3039], $86,380 95. Environmental Science Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1053], $86,080 96. Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Other [29-1199], $85,740 97. Business Teachers, Postsecondary [25-1011], $85,730 98. Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products [41-4011], $85,690 99. Environmental Engineers [17-2081], $85,140 100. Mechanical Engineers [17-2141], $84,770

This article is from Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Headlight Recent News.

Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) — New estimates show Texas has eight of the nation's 15 fastest-growing cities.

Estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau show San Marcos in Central Texas led the way with a nearly 5 percent population boom between July 2011 and July 2012. That's the highest rate among U.S. cities with at least 50,000 people.

Of the 10 big U.S. cities with the largest gains, half are in Texas: Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth. Only New York added more people than Houston, which now has a population of nearly 2.2 million after adding more than 34,500 people.

Midland; Conroe, just north of Houston; and the Austin suburbs of Cedar Park and Georgetown also are among the fastest-growing in the country.

This article is from Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area Recent News.

The latest yearly building permit data shows a strong home construction market, with housing permits in the Rural Capital Area continuing to grow more quickly than the US average. In 2012, the Rural Capital Area issued 7,400 housing permits, approximately 9 permits per 1,000 residents (three times higher than the US average of 3 permits per 1,000). These permits represented a 55% increase from 2011 (and the highest number since 2007), well above the recovering US housing market, which saw a 33% rise in permits from 2011 to 2012. Multifamily housing units also comprised a higher than average share of permits: 44% in the Rural Capital Area compared to 34% nationally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housing construction in the Rural Capital Area continues to be led by the region's largest counties, both on an absolute and percentage value. Williamson County issued the most housing permits in 2012 (3,700 permits; 8 per 1,000 residents), followed by Hays County (3,300 permits; 20 per 1,000 residents) and Burnet County (170 permits; 4 per 1,000 residents). The highest permit growth from 2011 to 2012 occurred in Blanco County (1300% growth), Lee County (800%) and Williamson County (94%). Four counties saw building permits decrease over this period: Llano County (-69% growth), Bastrop County (-45%), Fayette County (-43%) and Caldwell County (-17%).

According to 2011 median household income estimates recently released by the US Census, incomes in the Rural Capital Area continue to surpass US averages. Median household income grew twice as quickly as the US over the previous five years. In 2011, median household income for the Rural Capital Area reached $55,700, nearly 15% greater than the US median household income of $48,500. From 2006 to 2011, median household income grew 10% in the Rural Capital Area, over double the rate of growth in the US (4%).

Incomes are unevenly spread across the Rural Capital Area, with a $20,000 range in median household income from lowest to highest. The counties with the highest median household incomes in the region are Williamson County ($63,300), Hays County ($52,700) and Bastrop County ($50,300). The counties with the lowest median household income are Caldwell County ($39,300), Llano County ($39,800) and Fayette County ($40,000). Incomes grew fastest from 2006 to 2011 in Fayette County (12% growth), Williamson County (11%) and Blanco County (10%). Burnet County was the only county to see median household income decline over this period, with a loss of 3%.

Recently released employment data from Q3-2012 shows steady growth in the Rural Capital Area over the previous four quarters in all industries, except Government. Between Q3-2011 and Q3-2012, employment in the Rural Capital Area grew 3.1%, creating nearly 7,300 jobs. The fastest growing industries during this period were Natural Resources & Mining (10.3% growth), Education & Health Services (7.8%), and Professional & Business Services (5.0%). Trade, Transportation, & Utilities remained relatively flat over this year, growing only 0.4%. The only industry to decline during this period was Government, which saw employment drop by 3.2%.

Salaries in the Rural Capital Area did not perform as well as jobs during the period from Q3-2011 to Q3-2012, with the average salary for all industries declining 1.5% to reach $41,900. Only four industries in the Rural Capital Area saw average salaries grow over this period: Natural Resources & Mining (5.9% growth), Financial Activities (1.9%), Manufacturing (1.6%), and Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (0.8%). The regional industries with the greatest drops in average salary were Information & Publishing (-9.3%), Other Services (-6.2%), and Professional & Business Services (-3.6%).

Rural Capital Headlight now includes cluster charts and tables on Occupational Employment, Industry Employment and College Degree Completions.

Data is provided in bubble charts and searchable tables, with current-year data, a 5-year growth history and forecast, and a location quotient (per capita density). Data is available for all counties in the Rural Capital Area as well as a regional aggregation.

You can find the new data in the “Industry” and “Workforce” menus of the Headlight site.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases monthly unemployment estimates that help track the condition of the workforce. The unemployment rate in the Rural Capital Area fell to 5.1% by the end of 2012 (December), much lower than the US rate of 7.6%. The unemployment rate has slowly declined in the Rural Capital Area from a peak of 7.7% (when 30,000 were unemployed) in January 2010. Currently 22,000 workers are unemployed in the Rural Capital Area.

 

 

 

 

 

Unemployment rates show some variation within the Rural Capital Area The counties with highest unemployment rates are Caldwell County (6.1%), Llano County (6.1%) and Bastrop County (5.4%). Some counties are experiencing low unemployment rates such as Lee County (4.2%) and Fayette County (4.3%).

 

The Rural Capital Area has a diverse mix of educational institutions, including Texas State University-San Marcos, the Austin Community College District, Southwestern University, Victoria College and many more. These institutions supply the local workforce with thousands of graduates each year with a diverse range of training and degrees. In order to fully capture the supply of graduates in the regional workforce, we include the University of Texas, St. Edward's University, Austin Community Colleges and others in Travis County in this analysis.

The cluster bubble charts below reveal the relative concentration of degrees by cluster (vertical axis) in the Rural Capital Area plus Travis County and their recent growth rate from 2006 to 2011 (horizontal axis). The size of the bubbles indicates total degrees awarded in the cluster. In 2011, institutions that serve the Rural Capital Area and Travis County awarded nearly 29,000 Associate's, Bachelor's, and Master's or higher degrees, representing 13% growth from 2006.

For each degree level, we summarize the findings of our research. Of most importance are which degrees are growing quickly (due to student demand), and which areas have high concentrations (>1 indicates above-average versus the US), which is an indication of unique, competitive skills available in the region.

Associate's Degree Clusters

The largest Associate's degree clusters in the Rural Capital Area plus Travis County are Liberal Arts (2,700 degrees), Health Care (1,100 degrees), Business (570 degrees), Engineering (470 degrees) and Government / Social Work (330 degrees). Liberal Arts Associate's degrees are generally received by students applying to Bachelor's degree programs at larger universities.

The fastest growing Associate's degree clusters in the Rural Capital Area plus Travis County from 2006 to 2011 were Family Development (58% growth), Creative Arts (57% growth), Construction (55% growth), Government / Social Work (54% growth) and Education (40% growth). The only Associate's degree clusters to decline during this period were Legal (-1% growth), Software / Computer Science (-4% growth) and Mathematics (-11% growth).

The most concentrated Associate's degree clusters in the Rural Capital Area plus Travis County are Mechanics (LQ of 4.8), Mathematics (LQ of 3.3), Engineering (LQ of 3.0), Construction (LQ of 2.2) and Software / Computer Science (LQ of 2.2). Degree clusters less concentrated than the US average include Business (LQ of 0.6), Health Care (LQ of 0.6) and Education (LQ of 0.5).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bachelor's Degree Clusters

The largest Bachelor's degree clusters in the Rural Capital Area plus Travis County are Business (2,700 degrees), Liberal Arts (2,700 degrees), Engineering (2,500 degrees), Media & Communications (2,500 degrees), Government / Social Work (1,500 degrees) and Health Care (1,300 degrees). These degree clusters are highly tied to local industrial strengths, particularly in Engineering, Business and Health Care.

The fastest growing Bachelor's degree clusters in the Rural Capital Area plus Travis County from 2006 to 2011 were Family Development (26% growth), Engineering (18% growth), Education (11% growth), Health Care (11% growth) and Creative Arts (10% growth). The only Bachelor's degree clusters to decline during this period were Mathematics (-2% growth), Government / Social Work (-4% growth), Software / Computer Science (-7% growth) and Architecture (-17% growth).

The most concentrated Bachelor's degree clusters in the Rural Capital Area plus Travis County are Construction (LQ of 6.0), Transportation (LQ of 2.9), Mathematics (LQ of 2.7), Engineering (LQ of 2.5) and Software / Computer Science (LQ of 2.0). Degree clusters less concentrated than the US average include some of the largest areas, including Business (LQ of 0.8) and Health Care (LQ of 0.4).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Master's or Higher Degree Clusters

The largest Master's degree and higher (including PhD and Professional degrees) clusters in the Rural Capital Area plus Travis County are Business (1,300 degrees), Education (1,300 degrees), Engineering (920 degrees), Health Care (580 degrees) and Government / Social Work (540 degrees). These advanced degree cluster strengths generally match trends in Associate's and Bachelor's degrees.

The fastest growing Master's or Higher degree clusters in the Rural Capital Area plus Travis County from 2006 to 2011 were Agriculture (140% growth), Family Development (120% growth), Education (95% growth), Mathematics (44% growth) and Architecture (44% growth). The only degree clusters to decline during this period were Software / Computer Science (-3% growth), Health Care (-5% growth) and Legal (-15% growth).

The most concentrated Master's or Higher degree clusters in the Rural Capital Area plus Travis County are Engineering (LQ of 4.6), Mathematics (LQ of 3.3), Architecture (LQ of 3.0), Media & Communication (LQ of 2.1), Legal (LQ of 1.6) and Software / Computer Science (LQ of 1.5). The only degree clusters less concentrated than the US average are Education (LQ of 0.6) and Health Care (LQ of 0.4). The low concentration of Health Care Master's or Higher degrees is largely due to the lack of a medical school in the region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Observations

Given the region's high reliance on the technology industry, it is surprising to see that software and computer science degree output is shrinking at every degree level. Fortunately, engineering also included computer hardware and software engineering, but engineering degrees are still being outpaced by programs in Family Development. Shrinking output of advanced Healthcare degrees is a concern, and the decline in Professional Law degrees may be a reflection of national trends.

 

The largest existing occupational clusters in the Rural Capital Area are Back Office / Administrative Support (50,400 jobs); Personal Services (46,300 jobs); Hospitality (46,100 jobs); Financial (31,100 jobs); and Construction (26,500 jobs). With the exception of Back Office / Administrative Support and Hospitality, the largest occupational clusters in the Rural Capital Area are all relatively concentrated (LQ above 1.0) in the Rural Capital Area.

The Rural Capital Area's most concentrated occupational clusters are Agriculture (LQ of 2.3; 14,900 jobs); Geology (LQ of 1.6; 1,000 jobs); Construction (LQ of 1.5; 26,500 jobs); Computer (LQ of 1.2; 14,300 jobs); and Education (LQ of 1.2; 27,000 jobs).

Through 2017, occupational clusters in the Rural Capital Area with the highest forecast growth include Financial (25% forecast growth; 7,800 new jobs); Education (23% forecast growth, 6,100 new jobs); Political (21% forecast growth; 50 new jobs); Geology/Energy (20% forecast growth; 200 new jobs); and Medical (19% growth; 4,500 new jobs).

No occupational clusters in the Rural Capital Area are projected to experienced declines during the next five years. Agriculture employment, however, is expected remain flat (0.2% forecast growth; 40 new jobs).

There are many emerging occupational clusters in the Rural Capital Area (those in the bottom right quadrant of the bubble chart, with currently low concentration but high forecast growth).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fastest growing emerging industry clusters are Political (LQ of 0.7; 21% forecast growth); Medical (LQ of 0.7; 19% forecast growth); Math (LQ of 0.8; 17% forecast growth); Legal (LQ of 0.6; 15% forecast growth); and Social Service (LQ of 0.7; 14% forecast growth).

Removing Williamson County from the Rural Capital Area doesn't materially change the overall occupational cluster trend analysis. Outside Williamson County, Geology, Manufacturing and Construction are more concentrated. Conversely, Math, Back Office / Administrative Support and Computer occupations are more concentrated in Williamson County than the rest of the Rural Capital Area.

The Rural Capital Area has a diverse mix of industries and nearly all are forecasted to grow over the next five years. The cluster bubble chart below reveals the relative concentration of industry clusters in the Rural Capital Area (vertical axis) and their forecast growth rate from 2012 to 2017. The size of the bubble indicates total employment in the cluster. The Rural Capital Area is forecast to grow by 14% over this period, creating 52,000 jobs across industries.

The industry clusters with the highest forecast new job creation in the Rural Capital Area from 2012 to 2017 are Finance (24% forecast growth; 9,700 new jobs); Government (18% forecast growth, 8,700 new jobs); Entertainment (17% forecast growth; 6,500 new jobs); Healthcare (19% forecast growth; 4,900 new jobs); and Retail (8% growth; 4,800 new jobs).

The most concentrated industry clusters – those that indicate a competitive advantage in the Rural Capital Area – are Industrial Machinery (LQ of 2.8; 19,400 jobs); Construction (LQ of 1.6; 37,600 jobs); Agribusiness (LQ of 1.6; 17,600 jobs); Energy (LQ of 1.5; 6,900 jobs); and Electronics (LQ of 1.1; 6,400 jobs).

The current largest industry clusters in the Rural Capital Area are Retail (56,300 jobs); Government (49,700 jobs); Finance (39,700 jobs); Entertainment (37,900 jobs); and Construction (37,600 jobs). All of these clusters, except Government, have a higher than average concentration (LQ above 1.0) in the Rural Capital Area.

Only two industries are forecast to lose employment in the Rural Capital Area over this period: Metalworking (-2% forecast growth; -74 new jobs) and Materials (-2% forecast growth; -27 new jobs).

industry clusters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rural Capital Area has many emerging industry clusters (those in the bottom right quadrant of the bubble chart, with currently low concentration but high forecast growth). The fastest growing emerging industry clusters are Research (LQ of 0.8; 23% forecast growth); Private-Sector Education (LQ of 0.6; 20% forecast growth); Healthcare (LQ of 0.6; 19% forecast growth); Software/Information Technology (LQ of 0.8; 18% forecast growth); and Back Office (LQ of 0.8; 16% forecast growth).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Given that Williamson County accounts for large share of the region – just over 50%, we've analyzed the region excluding Williamson County. Industry cluster trends in the Rural Capital Area without Williamson County are surprisingly similar. Retail, Government, Finance, Construction and Entertainment are the five largest clusters, with slight variation in order. Without Williamson County, the region's most competitive (highest LQ) industries are Agribusiness and Energy. Forecasted growth rates for clusters are similar and all industries are expected to grow.

 

 

During the 4 quarters from Q2-2011 through Q2-2012 (the latest data available), the Rural Capital Area created nearly 7,000 jobs at a growth rate of 3%, nearly double the US rate of 1.6%.

 

 

 

 

 

The fastest growing county in the region was Caldwell County, which grew 4% and created 300 new jobs. The next fastest were Williamson County (3.7% growth; 4,800 new jobs) and Lee County (3.2% growth; 200 new jobs). Only two counties lost jobs over the period: Bastrop County (-0.6% growth; -80 new jobs) and Burnet County (-2.1% growth; -260 new jobs).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back to the start of the recession in 2008, the fastest growing counties in the Rural Capital Area have been Lee County (15% growth; 820 new jobs), Caldwell County (14% growth; 960 new jobs), and Hays County (12% growth; 5,600 new jobs). Three counties have lost jobs since 2008: Llano County (-7% growth; -320 new jobs), Burnet County (-4% growth; -480 new jobs), and Fayette County (-3% growth; -240 new jobs).

During the 4 quarters from Q2-2011 through Q2-2012 (the latest data available), employment growth in the Rural Capital Area was led by the Health Services & Private Education industry – 9.1% compared to less than 2% for the US. The Natural Resources and Mining industry experienced the second highest rate of growth, increasing 8.8% compared to 6.2% for the US. Most remaining industries grew between 3% and 5%.

Only two industries in the Rural Capital Area suffered job losses — Information and Government. Employment in Government (state, federal, and local) dropped 2.1% which resulted in a net loss of 1,000 jobs – a significant decline when considering the 7,000 new jobs created in the private sector.

After dipping in 2009, self-employment income (from unincorporated sole proprietors and contractors, including farms) reached an all-time high in 2011 to $2.2 billion, an increase of nearly 4% from 2010. Performance across industries varied, with Furniture stores and Motor Vehicle businesses enjoying double-digit growth. This growth is likely due to delayed purchases from the previous recession years. Negative growth in Building and Clothing stores is likely due to cautious consumers as well as the expansion of national retailers into Rural Capital counties.

An interesting dataset from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows income by place of work and how much of that income is “commuted” to neighboring counties. In 2011, residents living in Rural Capital counties carried $7.8 billion in earned income across a county line due to their commute to jobs in neighboring counties. Williamson County residents brought in $5.2 billion, Hays residents brought in $1.3 billion, and Bastrop residents brought in $671 million.

Bastrop residents registered the highest share of income earned out-of-county: 48%. Williamson, Llano, and Caldwell counties registered 38-39%, while just 18% of Burnet income was earned out-of-county.

Most interesting is the change in these percentages: In the last 5 years (2006-2011), most counties registered a drop in the share of income earned out-of-county. This indicates that high job creation in these counties is allowing workers to find jobs locally. Caldwell and Bastrop registered the largest drops in “commuter reliance” (16% and 9%) and Williamson County has experienced just a small 1% drop. Fayette and Hays counties experienced a net increase in commuter income.

In 2011, over 100,000 workers were self-employed in the Rural Capital Area (non-farm workers), an increase of 72% over ten years. Self-employed workers account for 28% of all jobs in the Rural Capital Area, a percentage which has slowly increased over the last ten years (24% in 2001). Self-employed workers include proprietors who own their own business but are not incorporated or workers who are contractors (not salaried).

Within the Rural Capital Area, Blanco County has the highest percentage of self-employed workers – 62% of all jobs – while Lee County has the lowest percentage, 21%. The average for the US is 21%.

We would like to welcome you again to Rural Capital Headlight – your one-stop source for information on the regional economy and workforce. We hope that you have enjoyed reading articles each month on the 9 counties in our region (see side map).

We continue to make updates to the data throughout the year as new data is available. We would like to point out that our County Profiles are updated, and we hope to expand the narratives this year to aid those that use them in their work. (Click here to see an example of a county narrative)

The Headlight site is designed to be helpful and easy-to-use, whether you are a policy maker tracking the economy, a business owner wanting to benchmark performance in your industry, or a student researching career options. So that we may continue to improve Headlight's value to the community, please take a moment to email us any feedback that you may have on our newsletter articles and the website: info@headlightsystem.com

Also, we would like to encourage you to forward our monthly newsletter to your co-workers and peers who might be interested in signing up on our email list.

Thank you and best wishes to you in 2013,

James Satterwhite, Executive Director Workforce Solutions – Rural Capital Area

Taxable sales in the Rural Capital Area grew for the second straight year to reach $9 billion in 2011. Despite drops from 2007-2009, taxable sales are up 6% over the past four years and are currently at an all time high.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taxable sales in 2011 were at peak levels in all counties with the exception of Burnet County, which saw an 8% drop from the peak in 2007 and Williamson County, where sales only grew 0.03%. Taxable sales in Burnet County have since returned to 2006 levels. Williamson County and Hays County account for $7.4 billion (81%) of all taxable sales in the Rural Capital Area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From 2010-2011 all counties saw sales growth. The fastest growth was in Lee County, where taxable sales rose 23% over the year. The next highest growth in this period was in Fayette County (14%) and Caldwell County (12%).

Educational institutions in the Rural Capital Area awarded over 13,000 degrees and certificates in 2011. The largest institution in the region was Texas State University, which awarded 6,900 degrees in 2011. The next largest was Central Texas College with 3,600 degree awarded, followed by Blinn College with 1,300.

Approximately one-third of degrees awarded in the Rural Capital Area were at the associate's level (32%) with another 5,800 (44%) at the bachelor's level. Texas State University was the main source of bachelor's graduates and also graduated 1,300 students at a master's level or higher.

 

 

 

 

 

In Travis County, the University of Texas at Austin awarded a total of 13,400 degrees in 2011, with 9,100 bachelor's degrees, 3,000 master's degrees, and 1,300 PhD's. Austin Community College awarded 1,500 associate's degrees and 750 pre-associate's certificates. Austin Community College's campus in Round Rock currently serves 5,000 students. According to their website, “plans call for future construction to expand the campus to accommodate 11,500 students”.

The Rural Capital Area issued 4,800 housing (unit) permits in 2011, an increase from a low of 3,900 in 2009 but still 35% below the 10-year average. 78% of permits issued in 2011 were for single-family homes.

Permit levels remain below the 2007 peak in all counties with the exception of Hays County, which saw a 25% increase in permits. Permit activity has yet to reappear significantly in Blanco, Burnet, Fayette, and Lee counties. Overall, Rural Capital Area permits remain 45% below the 2007 peak.

Multifamily projects are driving growth in permits in the Rural Capital Area. Single-family permits declined in 2011, dropping -6% to 3,300, but multifamily housing permits grew 13% to 1,500. Hays County now accounts for 96% of multifamily units permitted (1,500 in 2011), a dramatic shift from 2007 when Williamson County accounted for 73% of the 2,400 multifamily permits issued that year.

Click here to get detailed data on units permitted by county.

The Rural Capital Area unemployment rate currently stands at 5.5%, which is relatively low compared to the US rate of 7.6% and represents a drop of -0.6% over the past six months. Currently 23,400 workers are unemployed in the Rural Capital Area.

Unemployment rates continue to vary within the Rural Capital Area. The counties with the highest unemployment rates are Caldwell County (6.4% rate; 1,100 unemployed); Williamson County (6.3% rate; 12,800 unemployed); and Llano County (6.3% rate; 500 unemployed). The counties with the lowest unemployment rates remain Lee County (4.5% rate; 500 unemployed) and Fayette County (4.5% rate; 600 unemployed).

The change in the unemployment rate over the past six months reveals sizeable drops in some counties. The counties in the Rural Capital Area with the greatest drop in unemployment rate between March and September were Bastrop County (-1.5% drop) and Caldwell County (-1.0% drop). By comparison, the Rural Capital Area's rate fell -0.6% while the State of Texas and US rates dropped -0.7% and -0.8%, respectively.

Unemployment Rate

Data recently released for the Austin 5-county metro reveals strong growth in occupational demand from 2010 to 2011 for various technical, healthcare, and retail fields. The fastest-growing occupations on a percentage basis are shown in the table below. The largest number of new jobs were created for computer hardware engineers (1500 new jobs), combined food preparation and serving worker (including fast food) (1600 new jobs), and personal and home health care aides (2000 new jobs). The salary differences between these occupations are vast, with computer hardware engineers earning an average $98,000 a year – nearly twice the regional average and 5x what home care aides and food servers earn ($19,000 a year).

fastest growing occupations

Fastest Growing Salaries, 2010-2011:

  • Painting, coating, and decorating workers: 55% salary growth ($39,700 average salary in 2011)
  • Material moving workers, all other: 42% salary growth ($43,000)
  • Dentists, general: 40% salary growth ($189,000)
  • Lodging managers: 39% salary growth ($74,500)
  • Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic: 36% salary growth ($38,300)
Highest Average Salary, 2011:
  • Internists, general: $209,000
  • Family and general practitioners: $190,000
  • Dentists, general: $189,000
  • Surgeons: $187,000
  • Chief executives: $182,000
Note: This data from the Bureau of Labor Services is only available for metropolitan regions. The Austin metro consists of Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson Counties.

The Social Security Administration provides benefits to low-income adults under the Supplemental Security Income program. Just 10,000 adults receive this benefit in the Rural Capital Region. As a percentage of population, Caldwell County receives the largest share (2.6%), while Williamson County receives just 0.9%. This share grew the fastest in Bastrop and Blanco counties, while Fayette County saw a decline.

SSI benefits are not large: the average payment is $472 per year in the Rural Capital Area. The US average is $541 per year. All counties in the Rural Capital Area receive less than the US average (all data is from 2011).

 

Click here to see the data in Headlight.

Strong population growth in the Rural Capital Area resulted in a large increase in the number of individuals receiving benefits from the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) programs of the Social Security Administration. Total recipients grew from 91,600 in 2006 to 119,300 in 2011, a 30% increase that was 1.5 times faster than population growth.

Various factors affect the number of Social Security recipients, primarily retiree populations but also the number of disabled individuals, which also tracks with the age of population. These factors have led to large variations within the RCA region, with counties with large retiree populations experiencing large Social Security benefits and high-growth regions such as Williamson County experiencing low benefits. Nationally, 18% of the population receives Social Security benefits, while just 14% of the Rural Capital Area population receives benefits.

The average size of benefit is surprisingly low, with retirees receiving $846 per year and the disabled receiving $1,041 per year. Average benefits in the Rural Capital Area are slightly below the US average.

 

Click here to see the data in Headlight.

Microfirms, small companies with 1-9 employees, represent a majority of firms in the US and are a sign of entrepreneurship and innovation in a community.

The largest microfirm sectors in the Rural Capital Area are Retail Trade (1,700 microfirms), Professional and Technical Services (1,500 microfirms), Construction (1,500 microfirms), Other Services (1,300 microfirms), and Health Care and Social Assistance (1,100 microfirms). All industry sectors have an at or above US average concentration of microfirms, except Accommodation and Food Services.

The fastest growing microfirm sectors in the Rural Capital Area from 2005 to 2010 were Private Educational Services (43% growth), Agriculture, Forestry, and Hunting (37%), Professional and Technical Services (36%), and Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (32%).

The fastest growing microfirm sectors in the Rural Capital Area from 2005 to 2010 were Private Educational Services (43% growth), Agriculture, Forestry, and Hunting (37%), Professional and Technical Services (36%), and Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (32%).

Microfirms are companies that have 1-9 employees. When people say that small businesses and entrepreneurs are the heart of America, they are right: microfirms comprise 74% of all firms in America. The formation of microfirms is a good reflection of a community's entrepreneurial culture.

Microfirms account for about the same share of all firms in the Rural Capital Area (75%), but growth is underperforming the growth in larger businesses. From 2005-2010, the Rural Capital Area created nearly 1,700 new microfirms, which represented growth of 17%. However, the base of larger companies grew 20% over the same time period. Microfirms struggled through the recession to stay in business.

Within the region, the counties with the highest concentration of microfirms were Llano County (8.5 per 10 firms), Blanco County (8.4 per 10 firms), and Caldwell County (8.9 per 10 firms). Counties with the highest growth in microfirms were Williamson County (27%), Hays County (17%), and Blanco County (16%). The only counties to lose microfirms during this period were Llano County and Fayette County.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases monthly unemployment estimates that help track the condition of the workforce. The unemployment rate in the Rural Capital Area currently stands at 5.9% which is relatively low compared to the US rate of 8.2%. The unemployment rate has slowly declined in the Rural Capital Area from a peak of 7.7% (when 30,000 were unemployed) in January 2010. Currently 25,300 workers are unemployed in the Rural Capital Area.

Unemployment rates show some variation within the Rural Capital Area. The counties with highest unemployment rates are Caldwell County (6.8% rate; 1,150 unemployed), Llano County (6.7% rate; 580 unemployed), and Bastrop County (6.4% rate; 2,340 unemployed). The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Lee County (4.8% rate; 519 unemployed) and Fayette County (4.9% rate; 627 unemployed).

Headlight provides data on graduates by degree for eight (8) post-secondary educational institutions in the Rural Capital Area and neighboring Travis County: Austin Community College (ACC), Blinn College, Central Texas College, Southwestern University, Temple College, Texas State University, The University of Texas, and Victoria College. These institutions combine for a total of 27,500 degrees in 2010 (Note: We include certificates in our total, which account for about 10% of the total). Although the University of Texas is located in Travis County, outside the Rural Capital Area, its influence within the overall region is significant: UT graduated 13,100 in 2010. The next largest institutions by total graduates were Texas State University (6,700 graduates), Central Texas College (3,300 graduates), and Austin Community College (2,000 graduates).

In 2010, the most common degree types among these eight institutions were Liberal / Multicultural Studies (5,300 degrees); Business, Finance, Economics (4,300 degrees); Engineering (3,500 degrees); Health Care (3,300 degrees); and Government, Social Work, Criminology (2,600 degrees). The fastest growing degrees from 2005 to 2010 were Transportation Professionals (3300% growth); Construction (117% growth); and Personal Services / Hospitality (91% growth).

 

Data was recently released for the full year of 2011, giving us our first look at year-over-year growth rate comparisons. Lee County grew the fastest of all counties in the Rural Capital Area, 11.8%. Growth was driven by over 400 new jobs at local civil engineering firms, likely in shale development. Caldwell County grew 7.4% in 2011, led by a strong rebound in its manufacturing sector. Williamson County grew 6.6% -- third place – but created the vast majority of new jobs in the region, nearly 8,000.

Click here to see county comparison charts in Headlight

Manufacturing employment grew 11% in 2011, led by growth in computer equipment, electronic instruments, fabricated metals, stone products, machine shops, and wood products. Health Care & Private Education grew nearly 8% in 2011, led by a large increase in doctors offices (not hospitals), home health care, and nursing care. Private educational schools (K-12 charter and technical schools) grew a surprising 25%. Leisure and Hospitality grew quickly – nearly 7%, primarily due to the expansion of restaurants.

The Wholesale Trade, Transportation and Utilities industry also posted large gains – a 12% increase, but upon further analysis, we discovered that 5,000 new jobs were posted in computer wholesaling in Williamson County that were accompanied by a similar decline in Travis County. This is most likely due to a reclassification (transfer) of workers at Dell from one office in Austin to the Round Rock office – not an actual increase in employment (a rare statistical aberration).

It was also interesting to see that Government employment shrunk 2% in the Rural Capital Area, a rate similar to the US decline despite the region growing faster than the US.

Click here to see more statistics on job growth by industry

According to recently updated data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the RCA has a median household income of $59,000, which is 18% larger than the US and 24% larger than Texas. The three counties with the highest median household income in the region were Williamson County ($66,200), Hays County ($57,100), Bastrop County ($49,800), and Burnet County ($49,195). Median household incomes are below the state average in Caldwell County, Fayette County, Lee County, and Llano County.

Incomes are growing much more quickly in the Rural Capital Area than Texas and the US. The median household income grew 10% in the RCA between 2005 and 2010, compared to only 2.6% growth in Texas and 8.2% in the US. Incomes grew fastest in Hays County (27% growth), Lee County (16% growth), and Fayette County (14% growth).

Click here to view trends in median household income by county in the region.

The US Census recently released population estimates for 2011 (which is a July 1 population estimate), and the population of the Rural Capital Area grew much more quickly than both Texas and the US. Population in the RCA grew 2.9% in 2011 while adding 23,200 new residents, compared to 1.7% growth in Texas and 0.7% in the US. The fastest growing counties were Williamson County (3.7% growth; 16,000 new residents) and Hays County (3.6% growth; 5,740 new residents). The only county that lost population during this period was Llano County (-0.8% growth; -160 residents).

Click here to view population trends by county in the region.

The Rural Capital Area has a robust manufacturing industry, with nearly 15,000 employees across the region and strong growth in most counties. Williamson County is the largest manufacturing county in the RCA with 6,600 manufacturing employees, followed by Hays County (3,600 employees) and Bastrop County (1,200).

In the Rural Capital Area, manufacturing employment grew six times faster than the US from 3Q2010-3Q2011 (one year, latest data available). Overall, manufacturing in the RCA grew 12% and created 1,600 jobs, compared to only 1.9% growth in the US. Manufacturing employment grew fastest in Caldwell County (101% growth; creating 280 jobs) and Williamson County (21% growth; creating 1,100 jobs). Only two counties lost manufacturing jobs during this period: Hays County (20 jobs lost) and Llano County (23 jobs).

The largest manufacturing sectors in the RCA are Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing; Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing; Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing; and Machinery Manufacturing.

 

The Rural Capital Area hosts nearly 16,000 firms across a range of service and goods-producing industries. The three largest industries in the region by number of firms are Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (3,300 firms); Professional & Business Services (2,600 firms); and Construction (1,800 firms).

However, the number of firms across all industries is growing more quickly from 2010-2011 (third quarter, latest data available) in Education & Health Services (5.3% growth; creating 83 new firms); Other Services (4.8%; 65 firms); Leisure & Hospitality (4.3%, 63 firms); and Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (3.2%, 103 firms). The only industry in the RCA that lost firms during this period was Construction (-2.7%, -49 firms).

Data from the IRS Migration database, which shows the flow of households into and out of a county, was updated last month in Headlight. Over 55,000 people moved into the Rural Capital Area in 2010, while just under 25,000 people moved out of the region. Williamson County continues to gain the most (+34,000 in-migration, -13,000 out-migration). Click here to see the statistics.

The Health Care industry continues to be the fastest growing major sector of the Rural Capital Area. Currently, over 20,000 workers are employed at area hospitals and doctors offices. The industry is growing the fastest in Hays County south of the city of Austin. In Hays County, 350 new jobs were created over the 12 months from Q3-2010 to Q3-2011, representing an 8% growth rate overall.

Williamson and Caldwell counties grew 4% over the same 12 months. (Note: not all counties have a reported estimate for Health Care employment, due to data suppression to ensure confidentiality.) These growth rates are far above the 2% growth seen at the national level.

Hays County's impressive job numbers are due primarily to the opening of the new Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle in October, 2009. But as shown in the chart below, Hays County has outpaced the US in Health Care job creation since Q4, 2008. Since then, Hays County has created over 750 new jobs in Health Care.

The 5-county region grew 3.2% over the past 12 months (through February), with Restaurants/Bars, Professional Services, and Temporary Employment Services growing the fastest. Administrative services also grew quickly (which includes call centers), and Doctors Offices and Hospitals also made the Top 10 list. Technology manufacturing has made a strong rebound, with Computer Manufacturing and Semiconductor Manufacturing growing a health 2.9% and 2.4% respectively. Some financial services have also rebounded well.

Not on the list are State and Federal Government, which fell 2.4% and 12.8% respectively. State Government has shed 1,800 jobs in the last 12 months and Federal Government has shed 1,600 jobs.

 

The Rural Capital Area's unemployment rate at the end of 2011 (December, the latest month available) stood at 6.4%, nearly two percentage points lower than the US average, 8.3%. Across the region, all counties have seen their unemployment rates fall. Fayette County and Lee County have the lowest unemployment rates (5.1% and 5.7% respectively). Bastrop County and Caldwell County have the highest unemployment rates in the region, 7.2%, but they also experienced the largest point drop over the previous 12 months.

We have updated our College Degrees data, which now show the output of "degrees conferred" by institution and by degree major for institutions that serve the residents of the Rural Capital Area. This data provides insight into the supply of new workers in the region and is useful to both employers hiring and job seekers. Future improvements to the data will aggregate degrees into groups such as "Software" and "Nursing". Click here to view the College Degrees page in Rural Capital Headlight.Here are a few selections of charts on the Rural Capital Area:

We decided to identify high-growth occupations of the future using EMSI data. To simplify the issue of analyzing 900+ individual occupation codes, we aggregated all occupations into 20+ occupational groups that provides a higher level of detail than the “major occupation groups” from the BLS. Each occupation group was evaluated for its 10-year growth rate, job base, and average salary.In the bubble chart below, we can quickly see which occupations groups will grow the fastest in the RCA region: financial, medical, and education. These groups also are large, as shown by the size of their bubbles. Computer, business, and engineering have the highest salaries and will experience average growth rates (which is still high compared to the US). Slow job growth will occur in production occupations, logistics, sales, and agriculture (expected to shrink).

What are the top 15 occupations for the next decade? We provide two lists in the table below, the fastest-growing occupations (on a % basis, which is our preference) and the largest net new job creators. The largest percentage growth will be found in Bio-related engineering, Financial Analysts and Advisors (likely related to back office operations), Nurses, Home Health Care workers, Fitness Trainers, and Actuaries and Cost Estimators, and Emergency Specialists.
If you're looking for more information on these occupations or the skills and education most needed in the future, visit the Department of Labor's site:

http://www.onetonline.org/find/

The start of 2012 is off to a good start. We've seen a sizable drop in the US unemployment rate since November and positive job creation each month for the last 12 months. Threats remain for the year, including a European debt meltdown and political gridlock in the US, but overall we should continue to see slow improvements going forward.

How is the Rural Capital Area doing? The unemployment rate is now 6.7% for the area (vs 8.5% for the US) and regional job growth has been positive for the last 5 quarters and surpassed 4% for latest two quarters (vs <1% for the US). The Rural Capital economy is rebounding nicely.

Within the region, Williamson County has created a majority of all new jobs, but Bastrop and Hays counties are growing nearly as fast on a percentage basis.
Longer-term, there is nothing to suggest that the Rural Capital Area's growth rates will diminish. In fact, the region's population has double every 20 years since 1970. At this rate, the Rural Capital Area will grow over the next ten years by 400,000 persons.
In future articles, we'll examine growth within industries in the Rural Capital Area.

How discouraged workers leaving the labor force has masked the nation's true unemployment rate and what it means for 2012.

Click here to download the complete report

New analysis by Avalanche Consulting, a national economic planning firm, reveals that the “true” rate of unemployment is 12.1% - 3.6 percentage points higher than reported last Friday - and that an additional 5.4 million unemployed discouraged workers are missing from federal labor force estimates. This is the first recession in decades to experience the phenomenon of large swaths of people choosing to leave the labor force.These estimates are derived by using the long-term ratio of employment to working-age population to calculate the “right” level of employment and the level of “true unemployment”. The team at Avalanche Consulting pulled 20 years of labor force and population data from our proprietary Headlight data system, which uses data from numerous federal agencies.

Major Findings:

  • The labor force and unemployment rate estimates published by the US Department of Labor depend on the number of people who say they want a job and are looking for one. Because discouraged workers who stopped looking for jobs aren't included in the labor force (and are hard to measure), the reported unemployment rate may not tell the true unemployment story for the US.
  • The labor force participation rate is one measure that is typically used to show the natural rate of employment in the US. The labor force participation rate (available workers as a % of the population aged 16 or higher) peaked in 1997 at 67.2%, but has experienced a slow decline over the past decade.
  • To determine the right level of employment (and unemployment) for the US economy, we use a better measure: the ratio of jobs per population of working age (25-64 years). Using this ratio (which has held more constant than any other over the last 20 years), the actual gap in jobs in the US economy yields 18.7 million unemployed persons with a true unemployment rate of 12.1%. This is 5.4 million persons and 3.6 percentage points higher than reported.
  • Our unemployment rate estimate is not like the alternative measures of unemployment reported by the Department of Labor, which includes people who work part-time but want full-time work, discouraged workers, and people who are “marginally attached” to the labor force. Unfortunately, these measures don't vary much from their long-term averages (multiples above the reported rate) whether we are in a recession or not.
  • Because we compare employment to population, we believe that our current unemployment data provides a clearer estimate of the number of discouraged workers, and therefore actual unemployment in the US today.
All supporting charts and data can be found in the downloadable Economic Brief on the Avalanche Consulting website.

What is the outlook for 2012? “Understanding the past and present situation is critical so that we can make better decisions going forward”, said Chris Engle, Vice President of Avalanche Consulting. “Sizing up the economy affects decisions across every part of the US: government policy decisions, career planning decisions, investment decisions, and overall consumer sentiment. The outlook for 2012 is getting brighter: most indicators are trending in the right direction. However, we must recognize that the economy has been scarred and that millions of people are no longer part of the productive labor force.“

“Every level of government – federal, state, and local – must be geared toward accelerating the recovery given lower levels of labor force participation and a large disenfranchised worker base,” said Mr. Engle. “Policies could include creating the business climate and incentives for the private sector to create jobs, encouraging adult workers to retrain in high-demand skills, and ensuring students are ready for the workforce when they graduate. The rewards will be large with the right policies: our job growth rate could be twice our long-term rate once the economy gets in full swing if we set the proper foundation for the private sector to create jobs.”

Headlight, LLC conducted an analysis of employment trends from June to September, 2011 to identify the metropolitan areas that experienced the highest job growth. The best performing (top 10% of their size category) large metros averaged an impressive 5.4% annualized growth rate. Austin, TX was ranked 6th Fastest-Growing Metro with population of 1.5M or higher, with a 3.4% annualized growth rate. Of the 11 “best performing” and “high performance” large metros, only Austin has already surpassed its employment level from the start of the recession in December 2007. Dallas, TX came in 8th with a 2.6% annual growth rate. Medium and small metros in Texas also performed well: Odessa grew at a 12.9% annual rate; Odessa – 12.9%; San Angelo – 7.4%; Brownsville – 6.9%; Laredo – 6.9%; Midland – 5.3%; Victoria – 4.8%; Corpus Christi – 4.0%; Sherman – 3.8%; and McAllen – 2.9%.

While growth has appeared slow but steady for the nation, the recovery has been far from uniform across metros in the U.S. A surprising finding in our analysis is that 43% of all metros experienced job losses during the Summer of 2011. These job losses were most pronounced in small metros (under 500,000 population), but were consistent across all size categories. Thirty-five percent of large metros (1.5M population or higher) lost jobs and 41% of medium-sized metros lost jobs.

To read the full report please visit: http://www.headlightllc.com/news/

The Bureau of Economic Analysis updated their income estimates for counties and states last month. Click here to see the updated per capita data for your county. The data goes beyond just income estimates: we have unemployment benefits, income supplements, pension contributions, and medicare benefits to name a few. Data are available in the aggregate for the county, as well as on a per capita basis.

Recent Census estimates for counties in Texas show that the population of the 9-county Rural Capital Area (RCA) reached 813,000 in July, 2010. This represents growth of 2.8% over the previous year, and 51% over the past decade.

Williamson County has been the region's growth leader, but Hays County is close behind. During the recession years, when US employment was falling (Q3, 2008 to Q3, 2010) Williamson County grew 7.9% while Hays grew 7.3%. Bastrop, Burnet, and Blanco counties posted very respectable growth rates (3.2%, 2.5%, and 2.0%) that surpassed the U.S. average.

Caldwell County grew slightly less than the U.S. rate, while Fayette and Lee counties lost population.

These datapoints reflect updated annual estimates for 2000-2010 from the Census Bureau based on the 2010 Census. Soon, the Census Bureau will begin to release detailed demographic data for counties and cities. Stay tuned for more Census updates…

RuralCapitalHeadlight.com is the new source for economic, workforce, and demographic information on the 9-county Rural Capital Area.The site is designed to be helpful and easy-to-use, whether you are a business owner looking for updates on your industry, a student researching your career options, or policy analysts tracking the economy.

Please sign up for our forthcoming monthly newsletter to be notified when new articles and data are available. We also have a poll on the home page to get your feedback on the site, or you can email our system administrator at support@HeadlightLLC.com -- we welcome your comments !

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