Texas Unemployment Hits New Record

Steven Pickering
May 22, 2020 - 3:05 pm

    DALLAS (KRLD) - The unemployment rate in Texas for April was 12.8 percent. That's a new state-wide record.

    At the beginning of the year, the statewide unemployment rate was just under 4 percent. But since businesses across the state began closing in March to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the unemployment rate has gone up dramatically. Some experts predict the figures for next month could be even higher.

    "A lot of people have filed for initial claims for unemployment since April 12th so our may numbers may turn out to be a little bit worse," said Economist Ray Perryman. "After that, we should start to see it turn around some."

    Perryman says models show a steady turn-around after June, but unfortunately not a quick one. “What we're looking at in our current forecast is that we have it start growing pretty well at the end of the year, have a good year of growth next year, but even at the end of 2021 we're still a little bit behind in jobs where we were in 2019 and then we catch up in 2022 and get back on our long-term trend in 2023 or 2024.”

    The unemployment rate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is right at the state average of 12.8-percent. That compares to 2.8 percent this time last year. Houston's unemployment rate is 14.2 percent. Amarillo has the lowest unemployment rate in Texas at 8.8 percent. The Beaumont-Port Arthur region had the highest at 18.1 percent.

    Even after businesses begin re-opening and the jobless figures go down, experts are predicting many Texans will feel an extended impact from this period of unemployment.

    "People are going to come out of this with accumulated debt. They're going to come out of it with lost income," said TCU Economist John Harvey, "and the longer you're unemployed, the harder it is to get a new job."​