100% Austin news, info, and entertainment, straight to your inbox at 6 a.m. every morning.
In five minutes, you're fully informed and ready to start another great day in our city.
The force is strong in Austin, bringing with it plans for a new Star Wars mobile game to be headquartered in the city.
Mobile game developer Zynga, famously known for titles like "Farmville" and "Words with Friends," announced it would develop a new "Star Wars" game in their existing Austin office on Monday.
Zynga will pair with subsidiary NaturalMotion and UK-based NaturalMotion company Boss Alien to develop the game, led by NaturalMotion Senior Vice President of Games Jeff Hickman and BossAlien General Manager Matthew Hemby.
Hickman said he believes in the talent in Austin to create the game. There will be a lot of Star Wars knowledge on the team—Hickman previously helped create BioWare's online game "Star Wars: The Old Republic."
"As a longtime Austinite, I know firsthand the immense level of talent and creativity that resides in this beautiful city," Hickman said in a statement. "We believe that the Austin talent market is highly compatible with our mission of bringing AAA console visuals and deep, compelling gameplay to mobile platforms."
The new team is looking to hire 25 new employees, including engineers, level designers and internships. View the full list of openings here.
- Austin's Hodgepodge Media rethinks its plan for a new kids podcast ... ›
- But once it's all over... - austonia ›
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.
- Reopening Austin offices plan for one-way foot traffic, sanitizing ... ›
- Buc-ee's avoids national workers shortage with benefits - austonia ›
- Austin restaurants struggle to hire workers after pandemic year ... ›
Is it just us, or is the current Austin mask situation confusing? Are we supposed to wear a mask or not, and where? And should we wear one anyway, even if not requested or required?
Austin health orders requiring masks expire Tuesday. What then?
Take our three-question quiz, and tell us what you're thinking.