AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a media call today, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) stated that the Greater Austin Metro area recovered jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic after only 13 months, faster than other Texas metro areas. Texas’ recovery occurred after 21 months.

Mariana Vega, director of the TWC Labor Market Information Group, said that the area also added 1,000 jobs in August; a positive sign after 3,500 jobs were lost in the area during July. Statewide, Texas has seen employment increases in 27 of the last 28 months, and positive growth during that period in all metro areas.

“Since August of 2021, Texas has added just under 727,000 jobs. To give you context, that’s more people than live in the state of Vermont,” said TWC executive director Ed Serna. “More Texans are working than ever before. We’ve set new employment highs for the past 10 consecutive months as non-farm employment has reached over 13.5 million individuals.”

Vega’s data shows that most jobs added in August were in government (8,100 statewide), professional and business services (5,200) and education and health services (3,800). The sectors that lost jobs during August were trade, transportation and utilities (-3,900), leisure and hospitality (-3,200) and information (-1,400).

According to Texas Labor Market Information, Austin’s unemployment rate decreased from July to August and currently rests at 2.9%. Texas’ unemployment rate of 4.2% is still above the national rate of 3.8%.

Vega, when asked about the unemployment rate, said that while it had climbed slightly in August, the number of discouraged workers fell from 52,000 to 35,000 over the past year. This added more people to the workforce, placing the state’s labor participation rate (63.8%) over the national rate (62.4%). For Texas, this surpasses pre-pandemic levels (63.4%).

“We’re very, very pleased with the progress that Texas is making with regard to job creation. With regard to its continued growth, we at TWC and the boards look forward to continuing to support that growth,” Serna said.