Jon Hockenyos, the economic advisor who earlier this week told the Austin City Council that job losses in the Austin metro area could total over 261,000, says that most of the people losing those jobs will probably be reemployed by the end of September.
He expects the height of unemployment to be the month of May, with jobs beginning to pick up again in June. If 261,000 positions were lost, it would represent 25.4% of jobs in Austin before the coronavirus pandemic. Actual unemployment would be slightly higher than 25.4% because over 2% of the Austin job force was already unemployed before any coronavirus-related job losses took place.
Hockenyos does not expect employment by September 30 to fully match pre-crisis levels.
"I think we are going to see a little bit of permanent job loss," he says, without giving a specific forecast. "You will see some companies closing."
In the April 7 presentation, Hockenyos, who is the president of the economic development consultancy TXP, grouped occupations into categories and estimated a percentage of potential job loss for each.
He expects to see the greatest losses in occupations related to food preparation and service; cleaning and maintenance of buildings and grounds; and sales, with projected losses of 81%, 61% and 56%, respectively.
On the other end of the spectrum, he forecasts that computer and mathematical occupations; education, training and library occupations; and farming, fishing and forestry occupations will see no net job losses.
In his calculations, Hockenyos looked at factors such as whether occupations were essential to public health or safety, whether they involved work that could be done off-site, and whether they were salaried.
He also considered how close workers needed to be to others as they did their job.
Hockenyos points out that there are many unknowns. He says he finds it realistic to base estimates on a gradual return to jobs beginning in June, but many factors will ultimately affect the availability of jobs.
"If there is a second wave, things will change," he says. "If there is a cure, things will change. This is a process. You have to keep checking in."
- Unemployment claims in Austin slow but plenty out of work - austonia ›
- Unemployment claims in Austin slow but plenty out of work - austonia ›
- Austin unemployment rate falls for first time since pandemic closures started, reported at 11.2% - austonia ›
- Coronavirus in Texas: Job losses keep mounting - Business - Austin ... ›
- Coronavirus updates in Texas: Unemployment claims surge | The ... ›
- COVID-19 Is Costing People Their Jobs. Here's How To Apply For ... ›
- Coronavirus layoffs in the Austin area: What to know if you lost your ... ›
- Unemployment claims in Texas surge to 275K amid coronavirus ... ›
The Austin woman suspected of killing star cyclist visiting from out of town, Moriah "Mo" Wilson, has now been captured after evading arrest for more than a month.
Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, an Austin yoga instructor, is believed by officials to be the killer of Wilson, who was found with gunshot wounds in a friend's house on May 11. The murder is being investigated as a crime of passion after Wilson met up with Armstrong's ex-boyfriend.
According to the U.S. Marshals, Armstrong was located at a hostel on Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Officials said she may have been using her sister's name after fleeing Austin on May 14, the day after police questioned her. She was last identified at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 18.
Federal authorities say they plan on returning Armstrong to the U.S., where she'll face charges of murder and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Here's a timeline of events since the night of Wilson's murder.
- The night of her death, Wilson met with Armstrong’s ex-boyfriend Colin Strickland, a fellow pro cyclist. According to an affidavit, the pair went swimming, then to dinner, before he dropped Wilson off at her friend's home where she was staying in East Austin at around 8:30 p.m.
- While Wilson and Stickland had previously had a romantic relationship, Stickland said the two were friends. The affidavit says Strickland lied to Armstrong about his whereabouts that evening.
- Video footage shows Armstrong’s Jeep pulled up nearby the home within a minute of Wilson arriving home.
- At around 10 p.m., Wilson's friend called Austin police after finding her in a pool of blood. Wilson had been staying with the friend ahead of the upcoming bike race in nearby Hico, Texas.
- Armstrong was brought in for questioning the day after the murder and released after appearing “very still and guarded” when confronted with video evidence.
- The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force said her black Jeep Cherokee was sold to a South Austin CarMax dealership on May 13 for $12,200.
- She leaves from the Austin airport on May 14.
- Shell casings found on the scene matched a gun belonging to Armstrong.
- Austin police obtained an arrest warrant for Armstrong on May 17.
- She took a flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to San Jose, Costa Rica on May 18 using a fraudulent passport, according to the Marshals.
- On May 25, another warrant was obtained for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
- On June 29, she was captured by the U.S. Marshals
On Thursday, the Supreme Court limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority in regulating greenhouse gases, a move that comes at a time when experts have warned about the need to take action on climate change.
The ruling was brought after a challenge to a lower court opinion brought by Texas and more than a dozen other states.
Vaibhav Bahadur, an associate professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin called the SCOTUS decision significant, noting that Texas is the biggest energy producer in the U.S., and produces more energy than the United Kingdom.
“Power generation accounts for a significant fraction of U.S. carbon emissions, and the EPA loses its ability to control what's happening in about half of that sector,” Bahadur said. “And it's not just the U.S., I think people and environmentalists on pretty much anywhere on the planet will be disappointed because this is going in the wrong direction. We know we want to be decarbonizing, and this is essentially putting a roadblock on progress toward decarbonization.”
So, we’re going to need some insurance, Bahadur says. He’s carrying out work that’ll act as such through his research on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), the process of sucking carbon from the air and burying it.
For the past five years, he’s been working on a novel approach to storing carbon. It involves supercharging the formation of carbon dioxide-based crystal structures and storing billions of tons of carbon under the ocean floor.
“If all of this is successful, then we will have another option for safely and responsibly storing carbon at the bottom of the seabed for essentially eternity,” Bahadur said.
Still, Bahadur talked about a different approach to responsibly cutting down emissions in the next decade, and doing so in a meaningful and substantial way, then the environment will eventually heal itself and we might not need CCS.
But that’s not the path we’re headed down.
“We're already starting to see temperature records being shattered this year, and we're still to hit peak summer,” Bahadur said. “All of this just makes me think that we need CCS to a larger extent, and possibly sooner than what a lot of scientists anticipate, especially if we can't keep our emissions in check.”
Gary Rochelle, a professor in the department of chemical engineering at UT, thinks CCS was ready to be deployed in 2010 and those 12 years have made a difference.
“But now we've emitted all that CO2,” Rochelle said. “And unfortunately, unlike other pollutants, when you emit CO2, it's there. It's not going away.”
Gary Rochelle and Vaibhav Bahadur are both researching technology to address carbon emissions. (UT)
Still, the delay is good in that now researchers like him have had time to learn about and improve the technology, allowing for fewer problems once it's deployed.
In December, UT announced a licensing agreement with advanced technology company Honeywell. The technology from that is targeted at power, steel, cement and other industrial plants to lower emissions.
Rochelle has been working on the technology since 2000 as part of an international collaborative effort. When he talked to Austonia on Thursday, he had just had calls with collaborators in Germany and Norway. Currently, he’s working with some Ph.D. students on addressing a chemical reaction that can happen with the technology known as oxidation that could lead to ammonia emissions and cause problems for a large-scale commercial unit.
Rochelle says he’s driven to this work because he wants to make a contribution.
“We're trying to develop this technology so that we can make a difference,” Rochelle said. “It's a nice problem to work on. The students are motivated and those are the primary things which drive us.”
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott celebrated the high court’s decision which acted as a blow to President Joe Biden’s plan to reduce emissions.
“Today’s landmark victory against an out-of-control administration is also a big win for Americans who worry about skyrocketing energy costs due to expensive federal regulations that threaten our energy industry,” Abbott said. “President Biden cannot keep attacking the energy industry and the hardworking men and women who power our nation.”
- UT reports three students bitten by raccoons - austonia ›
- UT athletes racked up over $2 million in NIL deals in first year ... ›
- UT-Austin's 'Frack King' has a vision for clean, geothermal energy ›
- UT Austin debuts new hologram program amid pandemic - austonia ›
- UT admits the most diverse class in the school's history - austonia ›
- A peek inside UT's new $338 million Moody Center - austonia ›