Austin economy continues to bounce back from pandemic downturn

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If you’re looking for evidence of the pandemic’s continuing drag on the overall economy, you’re going to have a hard time finding it in Austin.

More people are working in the metro area than ever, record numbers of job openings are being advertised online and the local unemployment rate is at a paltry 3.5% — a figure generally considered at or below ordinary churn.

Those measures reflect booming business activity in the region that’s on par with its strong pace prior to March 2020, when the coronavirus first sent the economy — locally, statewide and nationally — into a tailspin.

“At a macro level, Austin has recovered,” said Dirk Mateer, an economist and a professor at the University of Texas.

“We didn’t go down very far (during the pandemic-induced slump), and we came out faster” than most other metro areas of the country, he said. “Austin is back first, is the way I would put it.”

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