The Austin area had the nation’s strongest job market among big cities last Month, according to data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Among the 38 metro areas with a work force of at least 750,000, only Austin gained jobs from April 2008 to April 2009, the bureau said.
It was the third month in a row Austin had earned that distinction.

Austin added 3,400 jobs in that period, a 0:4 percent gain that brought the regional job count to 781,400.

In January, Austin, Houston and San Antonio were the only large metro areas that had more jobs than a year earlier.

But Houston and San Antonio have been losing jobs since then.

Austin’s job picture isn’t all rosy: The area has been losing manufacturing and construction jobs at an accelerating pace, but those losses are being offset by gains in government, retailing and services fields.

Central Texas is holding up better in the recession than other technology hubs.

In April the Silicon Valley area lost jobs at a 4.4 percent annual rate. Portland, Ore., was down 4.7 percent, Seattle was down 3.4 percent, arid Raleigh, N.C., was down 3.3 percent.

Some smaller cities also racked up gains, including Midland, up 2.2 percent, and Odessa, up 2.9 percent.