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Scott Francis
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Austin continues to lead the pack in Job creation among larger cities:
The Austin area continued to add jobs last month mostly in education as the school year began with a 2.3 percent growth rate compared with the same time last year. The Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday that Central Texas gained 17,300 jobs from September 2009 to last month, for a total of 771,200 jobs. That growth rate is the highest among major cities, according to Beverly Kerr , the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s vice president for research. Kerr, who compiles a ranking of the top 50 metro areas, said that Austin is ahead of Washington, D.C., which had a 2 percent job growth rate last month.
I don’t know exactly what Austin’s secret sauce is, but I think it has something to do with the diversity of employment (especially for a city our size), the affordability of living, the desirable arts and music community, emerging startup community, and strong organic and green movements.  It doesn’t hurt to be the state capital either.  Maybe we’re just lucky.  Whatever it is, we’re proud of our little city for putting people to work, and being a great place to live. We hope to see the rest of the country picking up steam in the next 6-12 months as well. On 60-minutes last night there was a truly difficult-to-watch story about long-term out-of-work people in the San Jose area.  The really difficult thing about industry upheaval is when a whole job category “goes away” in a material sense – as has happened to so many real-estate-related jobs.  The new “normal” in that industry is rebuilding from a much lower base of employment (and revenue).  This isn’t because the industry got more efficient, it just shrank when the bubble burst.  But some of the people laid off in that business were in it for 20 years.  Once you’ve specialized to such an extent, it is hard to start over in another area – and the competition for open positions is pretty fierce.  There are often so many applicants that businesses can’t realistically review all of the resumes – and when they do they are more likely to rely on resume-screening techniques (which don’t work very well, but do limit the pool of people to talk to) rather than taking the time to talk to all the applicants and understand why someone might not look like a fit on paper but actually is a great fit for the role.  We’re going to go through a rough transition time as people with long-term investments in skills are forced to abandon their chosen fields and pursue new opportunities where their skills or experience may be less valued.

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