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On an episode of "The Joe Rogan Experience" on Thursday, Austin transfers Joe Rogan and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk called their new city "utopian," a "boomtown" and a "mini California."
Like many other West Coasters, the world's richest person made the switch from California to Austin for business opportunities, announcing this past summer he would plant his newest Tesla Gigafactory just outside of the city.
Musk said he made the move after his team unanimously chose Austin as their new destination.
"Austin is a bit like mini California," Musk said. "I was asking people on the team, 'Where do you want to spend time?' and the No. 1 choice was Austin. I was like, 'What's number two?" There was silence."
As the "Texodus" continues, Musk said that Austin will be the next big U.S. city for growth and opportunity.
"I think Austin's going to be the biggest boomtown that America has seen in half a century," Musk said.
Rogan, who made the move from California himself late last summer, called the city "utopian" and an escape from tighter governmental restrictions.
"I hesitate to talk about it because I talk about it too much, but it's very utopian," Rogan said.
While Musk believes that Austin is a "mini California," he emphasized that he hoped fellow transfers would work to keep the unique Austin spirit alive.
"I think we do need to make sure that people moving from California don't inadvertently recreate the issues that caused them to move in the first place," Musk said.
Both Musk and Rogan had disagreements over local government policies due to COVID-19, with Musk calling local government authorities "fascist" for their shelter-in-place order. In December, Musk followed his upcoming factory and announced that he would be making the move to Texas.
Rogan seemed to agree that Austin was the new place to be, especially during the pandemic.
"There's something special going on," Rogan said. "It feels great to be a part of the escape from this wretched dreariness."
Musk's new $1.1 billion "Giga Texas" factory is projected to be finished later this year.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that Texas will opt out of further federal unemployment benefits related to the pandemic effective June 26, citing the number of current job openings and concern about potentially fraudulent unemployment claims. The benefits include a $300 weekly supplement.
"The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring communities across the state," Abbott said in a statement. "According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment jobs."
TWC listed 837,273 job openings as of Monday afternoon compared to 226,849 unemployment insurance claims filed statewide between March 31 and May 1. An estimated 1 million Texans were unemployed as of March, according to latest estimates released by the state agency.
Some local business owners, including Doc's Backyard Grill owner Charles Milligan, suspect unemployment benefits are deterring Austinites from returning to work. But others agree with economists who say multiple factors are at play, including health concerns and child care availability.
We're seeing lots of posts about how nobody wants to work right now. Just wanted to share our experience.
We received over 60 resumes for a taproom bartender position we posted last week. Every applicant we've set up an interview with has shown up.
People want 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 work.
— Austin Beerworks (@AustinBeerworks) May 11, 2021
Abbott also cited fraudulent unemployment claims. Between March 2020 and April 2021, TWC received 4.48 million unemployment benefit applications, 611,000 or around 14% of which were tagged as suspicious. Most of those tagged were blocked before any benefits were paid out, according to an April 29 press release.
Federal law requires the effective date of such benefits change to be at least 30 days after the U.S. Department of Labor is notified.
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