Atascosa County in part of the San Antonio-New Braunfels metro area. This area's economic performance has historically stayed close to the performance of the Texas state. Until 2015, Atascosa County's unemployment rate followed closely the statewide average. Since the beginning of 2015, then its local unemployment has edged up gradually while the statewide unemployment rate has remained below 5 percent.
Despite higher unemployment in the past two years, Atascosa County's job market has remained strong. Its year-over-year employment growth rates remained above 1 percent for most months in 2016. Weaknesses in the local job market, however, were reflected in the county's sales tax collections. After a full year of declines in 2015, the volume of sales tax revenues for this area returned to the 2012 levels in 2016. On the other hand, the local housing market has stayed strong with steady prices and home construction activity.
Much of the stability of Atascosa County's economy arises from the extent of diversification across industries. The largest sector is government, which makes up about 19 percent of the local workforce. Other than the government, the only sector that accounts for more than 10 percent of the local workforce is retail trade.
Despite its highly diversified economy, more than 1,000 people work in the mining sector. The employment share of the mining sector at 8.3 percent, mostly in oil and gas extraction, represents 20 times the national average. Other relatively large sectors are utilities and farming. Development in South Texas' shale oil and gas industry has spurred employment growth not only in the mining sector, but also construction, professional services, and real estate.
The average annual earnings of employees in Atascosa County are about 80 percent of the Texas state average. This income gap is associated with its workforce's relatively lower educational attainment. Only 13 percent of the adult population in the region holds a Bachelor's degree or higher, compared to nearly 30 percent nationwide.
As for other parts San Antonio, this area's population has continued to expand at a steady pace due in part to migration of people from outside the area. Business formation has also been solid. The number of business establishments per 1,000 residents rose steadily over the years since 2011, reaching a record high of 18.2 in 2015.