Profile: Workforce Trends

In the early 2000s, unemployment in the Rural Capital Area matched national unemployment rates, but since 2006 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.  By 2018, the unemployment rate in the Rural Capital Area fell to a multi-decade low of 3.9%.

Unemployment Rate RCA vs US 2000-2019

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. The number of students graduating from the Austin Community College (ACC) system grew to an all-time high of 4,400 graduates in 2017.  Enrollment levels at ACC peaked at the tail end of the recession in 2011 and have fallen slightly to 64,000 students by 2017.

Austin Community College District All Graduates per Year 2000-2017

Enrollment at the University of Texas at Austin peaked in 2013 at 56,400 students but has since fallen to 55,000 by 2017.  Graduation levels at the University of Texas are near all-time highs after peaking in 2016 and dipping slightly to reach 16,600 graduates in 2017.  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.

University of Texas Austin All Graduates per Year 2000-2017