Texas jobless claims drop after three consecutive increasesTexas jobless claims drop after three consecutive increaseshttps://www.recenter.tamu.edu/news/newstalk-texas/?Item=257782021-04-12T05:00:00Z2021-04-12T18:00:00Z

​​​​​​​​COLLEGE STATION – Initial jobless claims in Texas decreased to 79,900 the week ending April 3 after three straight weeks of increases.

​​About 4.9 million unemployment claims h​ave been filed since​ March 21, 2020, according to U.S. Department​ of Labor (DOL) data. 

Continuing unemployment claims decreased to​ 314,900 the week ending March 27.

"The U.S. labor market seems equipped to hire currently unemployed people as the number of job openings continues to rise back to pre-pandemic levels," said Dr. Luis Torres, a research economist for the Texas Real Estate Research Center. "The most current numbers for February 2021 have job openings at 7.4 million."

According to Torres, there were 9.7 million unemployed people through March 21. After subtracting the average number of people unemployed before the pandemic (six million), there are 7.4 million job openings versus 3.7 million unemployed, a ratio of two to one. This ​exercise does not consider issues like skill mismatches. 

"For the labor market to fully recover going forward, significant downward movement in initial and continuing claims needs to happen, given that claims levels remain high," said Torres.

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, increased considerably the week ending April 3.​

​Last week, U.S. initial claims increased to 743,600, bringing the 55-week total to 79 million. 

Fewer people in most of Texas' major and border ​metros filed new unemployment claims the week ending March 27. The exception was Laredo, which registered its third weekly increase in a row.

Using data from the DOL and the Employment ​and Training Administration, the Center has estimate​d unemployment claims for Texas' major and border metros since March 21, 2020:

  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, 1.12 million claims;

  • ​​Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, 1.08 million claims;

  • San Antonio-New Braunfels, 330,900 claims;

  • Austin-Round Rock, 278,300 claims;

  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, 133,000​ claims;

  • El Paso, 114,500 claims;

  • Brownsville-Harlingen, 58,700 claims; and

  • ​​Laredo, 33,2​​00​ 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.

Healthcare and social assistance registered the highest number of initial claims the week ending March 27. That sector was followed by educational services, retail trade, and administrative/support/waste management/remediation services.

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​Source: Texas Real Estate Research ​Center​​​​​​​​​​
Texas Real Estate Research Center
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