The number of Texans filing first-time unemployment claims totaled 89,736 last week, down from 106,820 the week before and significantly lower than in the previous weeks when Texas’ stay-home order was in place.

Since March 13, Texas has seen a total of 2.4 million unemployment claims and benefit payouts of $11.1 billion. 

Typically, Texas sees about 14,000 first-time filers each week. 

Nationwide, 44 million people are drawing unemployment assistance.

The continuing high number of claims is viewed as an indication that businesses are still feeling the pinch of the pandemic even though Texas and most other states are allowing a slow return to business. 

Bloomberg News reported Thursday that the worst of the coronavirus-related layoffs is likely over, but the secondary effects of what may ultimately be the deepest recession in almost a century could persist for much longer.

Texas has not yet resumed requiring unemployment recipients to conduct job searches as a condition of continuing to receive benefits. Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson Cisco Gamez said there is still no date for that change and promises significant advance notice when it does happen.

The job search requirement has been temporarily waived due to the pandemic.

Also due to the pandemic, Texans are now eligible for up to 52 weeks of benefits. 

While the jobless numbers are improving, the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve predicts there will be an extended time where it will be difficult for people to find work. He expects years of continued support for the economy by his organization and, possibly, more help from Congress in the form of another stimulus package. 

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