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. The RCA unemployment peaked in 2010 at 7.3%, well below U.S. unemployment of 9.6% in the same year. By 2019, the unemployment rate in the Rural Capital Area fell to a multi-decade low of 2.8%. In 2020 the unemployment rate jumped to 5.9% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the existing educated workforce, the Rural Capital Area has a rising number of residents in the workforce pipeline through the college systems in the RCA area. The number of students graduating from these institutions in 2019 was over 39,000. From 2009-2019 there has been a 27% increase in graduate growth.
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 15,600 graduates in 2019. 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.