Nearly 3.2 million Texans have filed for unemployment relief since mid-March

As of August 8,
3.2 million
Texans have filed for unemployment relief since mid-March.
Texas' unemployment rate was
in June, up from 3.4% in June 2019.
In July, Texas' sales tax revenues were up
from July 2019.

The coronavirus pandemic has steered the economy into a recession. In Texas, the state’s unemployment rate remains more than double what it was at the start of the year, and nearly 3.2 million people have filed for unemployment relief since mid-March. The week ending August 8, a total of 51,476 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The state’s outdated and understaffed unemployment insurance office has left countless Texans confused and without unemployment benefits.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. As eviction moratoriums are lifted, unemployed renters face a system that housing attorneys — and some eviction judges — say is already stacked against tenants.

Economists say weakened oil prices, high unemployment and the ongoing public health crisis will slow Texas’ economic recovery.

Here’s how many Texans are filing for unemployment relief

The week ending August 8, a total of 51,476 Texans filed initial applications for unemployment relief. This is the lowest number of weekly initial applications filed since mid-March. Since mid-March, about 3.2 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.

New unemployment claims each week

Unemployment rate falls for second month in a row

Texas’ unemployment rate in June was 8.6% —a drop from the 13% May jobless rate, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released July 17. Experts say the improvements may be short-lived, as the state closed down bars and capped restaurant capacity in late June.

Unemployment rate

Sales tax revenues went up in July

In July, Texas collected nearly $3 billion in sales tax revenues, an increase of 4.3% over the same period in 2019. This is the first time in months that Texas’ sales tax revenues increased when compared with the same period last year. Those revenues came from purchases made in June, when social distancing requirements were more relaxed across the state than in previous months.

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 data is updated at the beginning of each month.

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.