AUSTIN (KXAN) — According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the Austin metro’s unemployment rate for April was 4.5%, the first time it has dipped below 5% since December 2020.

In the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area, which includes Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell and Hays counties, month-to-month unemployment rates dropped nearly 1% from March’s rate of 5.3% to April’s 4.5%. While not seasonally adjusted, it represents 57,409 unemployed residents.

The area’s unemployment area is below the state’s rate of 6.3% and the national rate of 5.7% as the country slowly begins to climb out from under the COVID-19 pandemic and the stranglehold it has had on businesses.

The workforce commission said since April 2020, the area has gained 119,600 jobs for an almost 12% annual growth. From March to April 2021, the metro area added 6,000 jobs.

The professional and business services industry gained the most jobs in the region from February to March 2021, the workforce commission said. That industry added 3,400 jobs, followed by the leisure and hospitality industry’s addition of 2,400 jobs. Manufacturing (700 jobs), government (300) and mining, logging and construction (200) industries all posted gains in the time period.

The leisure and hospitality industry’s year-over-year job growth was almost 56%.

The financial activities industry lost the most jobs month-to-month with 400, the report said. Education and health services lost 200 jobs and the trade, transportation and utilities industry lost 100.

“We are in a strong hiring environment, one with more businesses opening up and more relocating to the Austin metro,” said Tamara Atkinson, CEO of Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “However, those that will benefit the most in this environment are those with in-demand skills.”

On May 17, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the state will opt-out of the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act unemployment benefit programs June 26. The programs gave those receiving unemployment benefits through the state an extra $300 and other assistance due to job loss or reduction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To find job openings and virtual hiring events in the Austin area, go to the Workforce Solutions website.