The coronavirus pandemic has steered the economy into a recession. In Texas, the state’s unemployment rate remains nearly double what it was at the start of the year, and nearly 3.5 million people have filed for unemployment relief since mid-March. The week ending September 12, a total of 49,644 Texans filed initial applications for unemployment relief. On Aug. 6, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said the state will recover some of the lost jobs during the rest of the year, “but not enough to overcome the sharp declines in March and April.”
Texas’ sales tax revenues — the largest source of funding for the state budget — have created a shortfall that officials will have to fill.
The state’s outdated and understaffed unemployment insurance office has left countless Texans confused and without unemployment benefits. An extra $600 weekly unemployment payment that was part of a federal relief bill expired in July. In August, the state received federal funding to provide an extra $300 every week for people who have lost their jobs. However, nearly 350,000 unemployed Texans didn't qualify for the extra benefit, and the payments ended in September.
When eviction moratoriums were lifted in July, unemployed renters faced a system that housing attorneys — and some eviction judges — say is already stacked against tenants. In September, the federal government announced a nationwide eviction moratorium that could protect millions of Texans from being evicted.
Here’s how many Texans are filing for unemployment relief
The week ending September 12, a total of 49,644 Texans filed initial applications for unemployment relief. This is the lowest number of weekly initial applications filed since mid-March. Since mid-March, nearly 3.5 million Texans have 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.