📊 GRAPHED: Austin's biggest employers
Austin Daily
- 5 min read

📊 GRAPHED: Austin's biggest employers

Plus, why the heck are those caterpillars freaking everywhere?!


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☀️ Heya, Austin.

Earth to everyone: Today is the last day to do your taxes. So if you haven't done it by now ... Godspeed.

Today, we charted which companies in Austin have the largest workforces (yes, Tesla is one of them and is also the biggest tech employer in town).

Then, peep what those freaky little caterpillars are that are quite literally dropping out of the sky (or out of the trees), and see which Austin staple wants to expand across Texas.

Workin' 9 to 5 in the 512

We all know where in the city to get the largest burritos. Or the biggest goblet-sized margaritas (nope, you’re not getting any name dropping from us). 

But today let’s talk about something less food-related (sorry): Who are the largest employers in Austin?

Well, the Texas Government employs about three times as many folks as the next-largest entity. We looked at data from the Austin Chamber of Commerce that was last updated on Jan. 18, plus a Tesla report from March 31.

Check out the big kahunas here:

Austin Daily

And no, despite Oracle moving its headquarters to Austin in late 2020, it doesn’t even make the top 16. The company employs 4,200 folks in the city. 

Tesla became the big tech dog in Austin

Once upon a time, the likes of Dell and IBM reigned supreme in the Austin region. And they’re still industry leaders, don’t get us wrong. But Musk’s workforce eclipses the companies’ employee bases — nearly four to one for IBM and almost two to one for Dell.

No other tech employer comes close to Tesla. 

Amazon’s corporate division employs 5,900 folks, and Google and Facebook … er, Meta ... have 2,000 workers each. Cisco has 1,357, and TikTok employs 750.

Silicon Laboratories (if that name looks familiar, yes, it’s that building you can see downtown from the trail around the lake) has 580 employees. HP and WP Engine have 500 each. 

And SpaceX has 775, if you’re curious. 

So where are the major employers all scattered?

The Chamber of Commerce has a handy-dandy map:

Austin Chamber of Commerce

We all know where Tesla sits: on the 130 toll road not far off of 71. 

Which ones are closest to where you live? Reply to this email to let us know. (I’m not far from NXP Semi, the chipmaker.)

— Katie Canales, Editor

Temperature: 87 degrees | Sun:  Dancing with clouds | What to Expect: Higher humidity

Today’s weather can be described as the “air you can wear” with a noticeable increase in heat and humidity. Luckily our winds will be a little breezy with some gusts topping 30 mph.

Mary’s Tip: Drink extra water today and pack a towel for your workout. It’s going to be a sweaty one.

Why are caterpillars friggin' everywhere?

If you’ve spent any time outside walking under our gorgeous live oak trees over the past couple of weeks, you’ve likely run into surprisingly clingy little green worms as they dangle or fall. (We know they're not real worms. Don't @ us.)

These wiggly guys are actually the caterpillar stage of a cleverly named moth, the Oak Leaf Rollers, which ... coincidentally sounds like the perfect name for an environmentally minded roller derby team.

The adult moth is about a half-inch-long and has brown wings with chestnut-brown markings. 

These caterpillars are native to Central Texas and appear in the spring to feed on newly sprouted oak leaves. They sometimes can completely defoliate trees, according to Real Green Pest Control and Lawn Care Service.

The caterpillars spin a silky thread, like spiders, and will use it when they are dislodged from the tree. This is typically what has happened when we walk under those trees and let out a startled scream after one of those squirmy little bugs hits us in the face, gets in our hair or crawls on our shoulders. Always fun.

We only have a few more weeks of these buggy creatures because they cocoon at the end of April and emerge as moths in early May. 

Then they begin to lay their eggs on twigs of live oak, hackberry, pecan and walnut trees. These eggs will stay there for an amazingly long 10 months until they hatch next year in mid-March.

And the buggy cycle of life rages on ...

— Mary Wasson, Meteorologist

4 things to know about an Austin icon that wants to expand

The Austin Business Journal did a profile on Toy Joy recently. If you're unfamiliar, it's an OG, Old Austin toy store that opened near the UT campus in 1987 before moving downtown in 2013.

Well, it's expanding to other Texas cities. Go best fren.

Here are 3 things to know about the store and its grand plans, according to the ABJ:

  1. Toy Joy is one of four businesses now owned by Fred Schmidt's Austin Iconic Brands company, which raked in a cool $6 million in revenue in 2023. Two-thirds of that was just from Toy Joy.
  2. Schmidt somewhat accidentally bought the store about 10 years ago. He happened to stop at an auction at the time and ended up shelling out $102,000 for it. The rest is history.
  3. The owner said about 70% of the store's customers are between 20 and 35 years old.
  4. The owner wants to take the toy brand to four to eight new stores in other cities in Texas.

That #Austinrepresentation though.

⏳Long Time No C

Today's clue is for 28 Down: a startup founder living in Austin recently said the Texas Hill Country's winery scene is like ordering from a discount site compared to his experience visiting the answer.

Were so glad you found us. Find our bios and contact info here, or reach out at hello@austindaily.com. Behind todays send: Katie Canales and Mary Wasson.