CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — The Austin metro area’s unemployment rate fell to 2.7% in March, the lowest levels since the start of the pandemic, Workforce Solutions Capital Area reported Friday.

The latest figures are below the unemployment rates for both Texas and the U.S., at 3.9% and 3.8% respectively. March figures account for more than 36,600 unemployed residents in the metro area, which includes Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties.

Between February and March, the Texas Workforce Commission reported the metro had gained 7,000 jobs. Annually, the region’s growth rate is an 8.5% increase, with 95,600 jobs added to the local market since March 2021.

Areas with noted job growth include leisure and hospitality, increasing 19.5% over the past 12 months. Information and professional and business services both had substantial job creation growths, at 15.2% and 13.2% respectively.

Regionally, manufacturing and government industries both experienced monthly job losses between February and March.

“Currently the job market in the Austin area is an employee’s market, as the supply-and-demand balance is significantly tipped toward workers and job seekers,” Tamara Atkinson, CEO of Workforce Solutions Capital Area, said in the release. “In this environment, employers must take creative approaches to hire and retain workers. Bonuses, flexible work schedules and training opportunities are just some of the tools that local employers are using to fill thousands of available jobs.”

Residents seeking job assistance can contact WFSCA by calling 512-549-4967 or searching their resources for job seekers, employers, parents and students online.