Local unemployment rises in early 2021
San Marcos’s unemployment rate rose to 6.2% in January 2021 up from 5.3% in December and 2.9% in February of 2020, just before the pandemic.
Hays County’s unemployment rate rose from 4.9% in December to 5.5% in January as pandemic shutdowns continued; the impact of reopening Texas following Gov. Greg Abbott’s most recent executive order opening businesses to 100% capacity and ending the state's mask mandate is still unknown as the latest unemployment data is only available through January from Texas Labor Information.
“I would attribute the January increase to the annual seasonal increase we see every January and that we expect the downward trend in unemployment to continue when we see the February numbers,” Texas Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area CEO Paul Fletcher said.
The unadjusted unemployment rate of the entire Rural Capital Area of Central Texas ticked up to 5.3% in January, a slight increase from the 4.8% rate recorded in December 2020, according to figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The 5.3% unemployment rate in the nine-county Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area (WSRCA) represented 30,272 residents seeking employment. The region’s unemployment rate remained below both the Texas rate of 7.3% and national rate of 6.8%.
Local actors like the Greater San Marcos Partnership are hosting career and education events to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality and service industries.
Roughly a third of the 6,368 San Marcans that filed for unemployment through December 2020 came from the food preparation and service industries, according to GSMP’s Director of Workforce, Business Retention and Expansion Barbara Thomason.
“It’s because of this impact,” said Thomason, explaining the GSMP’s response in ramping up job and fairs. “Leisure, hospitality and retail have been the hardest hit, I think that the media has borne that out, data has borne it out, anecdotal evidence has borne that out. We felt like it was important to respond to that need.”
Thomason says the GSMP hopes to bring new opportunities to employees in the region, possible career shifts and opportunities to upskill to address the unemployment increase brought on by the pandemic.
“As long as people are willing to make a shift, as long as people don’t hang on to old paradigms,” Thomason said. “Maybe give up that hotel or restaurant role, consider something in a skilled trade of manufacturing, the opportunities could be endless for them. That's something we are hoping to expose them to at this fair.”
The GSMP’s Spring 2021 Get HIRED! Job & Education Fair will be held at the City of San Marcos Conference Center on March 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration for job seekers is open now at GetHiredS-MTX.eventbrite.com.
All counties within the Rural Capital Area region saw unemployment rate increases in January. Among them, Blanco County recorded the lowest unemployment rate at 3.9%, up from 3.4% in December, followed by Burnet County at 4.7 %, up from 4.3 % and Williamson County at 5.2% up from 4.7%. Fayette County was at 5.4% up from 5.0% and Lee County was at 5.6% up from 4.7%, while Bastrop County was at 5.8% up from 5.1%, Caldwell County was at 6.2% up from 5.5%, and Llano County was at 6.4% up from 5.7%.
The WSRCA provides resources to help find workforce solutions and offers curbside and in-center assistance by appointment. Services continue to be available virtually. Their teams help you develop a customized training plan to help you enhance your skills and create sustainable career outcomes.
They also offer the Workforce Wednesdays Virtual Career Expo which connects employers and job seekers at weekly online hiring events. Workforce Wednesdays represents a collective effort among Rural Capital Area communities and industries to empower their workforce through virtual interactive events and continue to help the region compete at a global level.
Employers looking to host free hiring booths and interview sessions should email the WSRCA Business Services Team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit https://ruralcapitalarea.getyourbooth.com.
For those looking to upskill, TWC partners are offering free online training courses for all Texans through Metrix Learning’s Skillsoft courseware and Linkedin Learning.
To access employment data, visit texaslmi.com.