COLLEGE STATION – Initial jobless claims in Texas decreased considerably the week ending April 24, falling around 19,400 claims to 27,400.
This marks three straight weeks of significant drops and the lowest level of initial unemployment claims since before the pandemic.
Just over five million unemployment claims have been filed since March 21, 2020, according to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) data.
Continuing unemployment claims decreased to 275,900 the week ending April 17.
“Despite the decreases, levels of both initial and continuing claims still remain around 1.6 and 1.8 times higher, respectively, than their pre-COVID-19 levels,” said Dr. Luis Torres, a research economist for the Texas Real Estate Research Center.
The number of workers receiving benefits through the pandemic unemployment assistance program, which is open to gig workers and others who don’t typically receive benefits, decreased the week ending April 24.
Last week, U.S. initial claims decreased to 553,400, the lowest level of the pandemic. This brings the 58-week total to 80.7 million.
Fewer people in all of Texas’ major and border metros filed new unemployment claims the week ending April 17.
Using data from the DOL and the Employment and Training Administration, the Center has estimated unemployment claims for Texas’ major and border metros since March 21, 2020:
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, 1.18 million claims;
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, 1.14 million claims;
San Antonio-New Braunfels, 348,400 claims;
Austin-Round Rock, 294,700 claims;
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, 137,600 claims;
El Paso, 119,600 claims;
Brownsville-Harlingen, 60,700 claims; and
Laredo, 34,400 claims.
“Increasing vaccination rates should lead to a faster recovery in the leisure and hospitality sector, possibly creating a wave of hiring that would allow thousands of laid-off workers to find jobs,” said Torres.
Retail registered the highest numbers of initial claims the week ending April 17. That sector was followed by healthcare and social assistance, administrative/support/waste management/remediation services, and construction.
The Texas Real Estate Research Center has a wealth of economic information online for free.