Demand for work has reached historic levels with over a million positions open in Texas, yet most who are unemployed aren't searching for a job.
A new study by locally-based jobs site Indeed shows that only 10% of people between 18 and 64 said they are "urgently" searching for work. With more jobs open than unemployed Texans at the end of May, the study explains what is stopping people from returning to the grind.
While some assume unemployment payments have kept most from urgently looking for a job, the study shows COVID fears, spouse's employment, financial cushion and care responsibilities are the biggest reasons for the lack of urgency in getting a job.
COVID-19 hesitation is the most cited reason for hesitation to return to work, according to Indeed. Fears due to vaccination rates accounted for between 20-25% depending on skillset, as workers without college degrees are more likely to work in positions that require extensive face-to-face interaction.
College-educated workers are citing more comfort in their situation with nearly 25% reporting their spouse is employed, though around 34% said increased vaccination rates would be a catalyst in the job search.
Financial cushions and care responsibilities are keeping both groups home as the second and third most cited reasons to put job searching on the backburner. Despite the abundance of open jobs, around 30% of participants said they are waiting for more positions to open up.
The end of unemployment payments in Texas on June 26 is expected to put pressure on people even in the non-urgent category. Around 12% of participants without a college degree said they are putting off an urgent search while benefits last and more than 20% said it will be the reason they return to work.
While the labor shortage is causing pressure for many employers, even people in the urgent search category aren't trying to start a new job immediately. Out of all job seekers, 31% said they would prefer to have time off this summer before starting and more than 15% of college-educated searchers said they will begin to search urgently after time off this summer.
Survey participants listed some of the biggest factors that will get them back to the workforce:
- increasing vaccination rates
- schools reopening
- dwindling savings
Indeed's conclusion: Urgency is likely to pick up in the fall. As vaccination rates climb, enhanced unemployment dies down and schools reopen, Texans may see an employment revival.
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With major entertainment events slated for October, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is gearing up for a busy month.
Artists and music lovers are set to pack into Zilker Park for The Austin City Limits Music Festival in the coming two weekends. Following that, Formula One will bring racing fans to the Circuit of the Americas.
For those two events, the airport is anticipating high passenger days with 30,000 or more people departing flights.
ABIA recommends arriving at least two and a half hours in advance for domestic flights on those days. For ACL, it's expected on both Sundays of the festival along with the Monday and Tuesday after. The F1-driven high passenger days are expected on Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 23-26.
\u201c#AustinCityLimits visitors, you\u2019re in for a weird and wild ride \ud83e\udd18\u262e\ufe0f \n\nFlying in or out of our airport? We got firm and fun tips for you: https://t.co/RawVRalOXN\u201d— Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (@Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)) 1664894083
F1, especially, could draw in loads of travelers as the three-day event saw 400,000 attendees last year. ABIA warns that highways leading to the airport may see even higher traffic than usual around the event and that travelers should plan their route accordingly.
Bailey Grimmett, a spokesperson for ABIA, said travel numbers come in 24 hours in advance. So, it's hard to predict if the airport will see travel volumes at the same levels that have happened around previous F1 races or if it'll top ACL's flight traffic.
Still, she says historical knowledge points to a chance for it.
“We've had that Monday after F1 break the record for single busiest in airport history," Grimmett said. "So context clues I would say yes, but I can't confirm that. But the historical background points to that."
In anticipation of the high volume of flyers, the airport received additional TSA officers for security screening through the end of October. To prepare even further, the Department of Aviation and partners hosted a job showcase and hiring fair to address the continued labor shortage the airport has experienced.
Relief from hectic travel days is on the horizon with November likely to see a slowdown.
"I don't anticipate it will be as busy as October just because we don't have as many events going on," Grimmett said. "Thanksgiving is kind of our primary holiday that we see a lot of passengers coming in and out of the airport."