Austin’s job­less rate 4.9% – 4-year low

Hol­i­day hir­ing helps push un­em­ploy­ment be­low 5% for first time since Oc­to­ber 2008.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - dzehr@states­man.com kladen­dorf@states­man.com Jobs

By Dan Zehr and Kirk Laden­dorf

A surge in hir­ing by re­tail­ers gear­ing up for the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son helped push the Cen­tral Texas un­em­ploy­ment rate down to 4.9 per­cent in Novem­ber, its low­est point in more than four years.

The Texas Work­force Com­mis­sion re­ported that Austin re­tail­ers added 4,200 jobs be­tween Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber, com­pared with statewide growth in re­tail of 44,600 jobs.

The Cen­tral Texas job growth was pri­mar­ily “peo­ple ramp­ing up for the hol­i­day, kind of a sea­sonal ef­fect,” said Alan Miller, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Work­force So­lu­tions Cap­i­tal Area.

Austin’s year-over-year job growth to­taled 35,300, or 4.4 per­cent, which com­pared fa­vor­ably with the statewide job growth of 2.6 per­cent.

“It is a ro­bust pic­ture for us and the re­gion,” Miller said. “We con­tinue to be a step ahead of the state and the na­tional jobs lev­els. This bodes well for the first quar­ter of 2013.

“Over­all it is not a bad place to be. Our pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to grow and the econ­omy con­tin­ues to grow. Merry Christ­mas to ev­ery­one.”

Plenty of re­tail­ers were adding sea­sonal jobs, in­clud­ing Spec’s, the Hous­ton­based wine and spir­its chain with 10 stores in the Austin area.

“Go­ing into the fourth quar­ter this year, we were

RODOLFO GON­ZA­LEZ / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Whole Foods team mem­ber Luke Vi­cic (left) checks out gro­ceries Fri­day for Lau­ren Dim­itry (right) at the chain’s down­town lo­ca­tion in Austin. The Cen­tral Texas un­em­ploy­ment rate dropped to 4.9 per­cent in Novem­ber. Re­tail jobs were a strong growth sec­tor in the job fig­ures.

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