San Antonio unemployment rate drops to 3.6%, but not everything is as rosy as it seems

Leisure and hospitality shed 600 jobs, and wage growth is being eaten by inflation.

click to enlarge San Antonio's unemployment rate is down, but there's more data to consider. - Wikimedia
San Antonio's unemployment rate is down, but there's more data to consider.
San Antonio's unemployment rate declined to 3.6% in March, the same as the national average. Although wages are up and joblessness is down, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a closer examination of the latest jobs report shows that not everything is as peachy as it seems for the Alamo City economy.

While unemployment in San Antonio is below the national average of 4.2%, most of those employed work in low-paying service industry jobs, according to BLS statistics . The service sector employs 90% of San Antonio’s workforce, the data show.

While unemployment in San Antonio is below the state average of 4.2%, an overwhelming majority of those jobs are in the service industry, which accounts for 90% of the local economy. And even though the average hourly wage in San Antonio topped $27.28 last month, a 9% increase from a year ago, a large chunk of that wage growth is being eaten by inflation, which stands at 8.5%, BLS numbers show.

According to an Express-News analysis, the sectors that showed the most significant job growth in San Antonio were the financial and manufacturing sectors. Meanwhile, the leisure and hospitality industry — a subset of the service sector that employs 13% of the city's workforce — shed 600 jobs last month.

Even worse, the state's economy seems to be slowing. according to the daily's analysis of BLS data. Texas added 25,000 jobs last month, and although it was the fourth consecutive month of record job growth for the Lone Star State, last month was also the slowest since August 2021.

Austin's unemployment rate, in comparison, was 2.7% in March, the lowest in the state.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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