Here’s how the coronavirus is impacting Texas’ economy

The week ending May 16,
Texans filed for unemployment relief, a more than 1000% increase over any week in 2019.
Texas' unemployment rate was
in April, up from 4.7% in March. The previous record was 9.2% in 1986.
In April, Texas collected
$2.6 billion
in sales tax revenues, down 9.3% from April 2019.

The coronavirus pandemic has steered the economy into the path of a recession. In Texas alone, more than 1.9 million people filed for unemployment relief in the last two months. The real number of people facing job losses is even higher; the Texas Workforce Commission’s website and phone lines have been overwhelmed by millions of queries daily.

What has emerged is lagging data and an undercount of jobless Texans who need help.

Here’s how many Texans are filing for unemployment relief

In just a seven-week span during March and April, 1,803,174 Texans applied for unemployment insurance, more than in all of 2019. The Texas Tribune is tracking the number of out-of-work Texans filing for unemployment relief with the Texas Workforce Commission each week.

New unemployment claims each week

The unemployment rate is the worst on record

The April unemployment rate for Texas, 12.8%, is the state’s worst on record. That number, included in the Labor Department’s monthly report released Friday, is the clearest and most comprehensive look at the economic devastation in Texas since the coronavirus pandemic first swept the state in March.

Unemployment rate

We’re watching the state’s monthly sales tax revenues

In the second half of March, leaders shut down businesses across Texas to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. The fallout from the closures began to appear in April sales tax revenue — the state budget’s largest source of funding. In April, Texas collected $2,583,942,000 in sales tax revenues from purchases made in March. The next round of sales tax revenues will reflect sales made in April and is expected to be released in early June.

Sales tax revenues

About this data

Unemployment claims are updated each Thursday with data from the U.S. Employment and Training Administration and the Texas Workforce Commission. The unemployment rate is updated on the third Friday of each month with data from the previous month. Sales tax revenues will be updated in early May.

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Disclosure: The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

Correction: An earlier version of this story listed state sales tax revenue incorrectly. The amounts are in billions of dollars.

Illustrations by Emily Albracht. Mandi Cai contributed to this report.