June 12, 2020
The tide of coronavirus-induced layoffs in Texas appears to be slowly receding, the Austin American Statesman reported Thursday. Weekly claims for first-time unemployment benefits in the state were down for the seventh week in a row, and slipped below 100,000 for the first time since mid-March.
However, the numbers of newly out-of-work Texans remain huge by pre-pandemic standards. The roughly 90,000 who filed for benefits last week is about seven times more than the weekly average in February.
Ray Perryman, president of the Perryman Group, a Waco-based economic research and analysis firm, called the downward trend favorable. He said, though, that “getting back to our prior strength is going to take a while” because the underlying numbers are still much higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Perryman sounded a note of caution, calling recent figures for coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Texas “not encouraging at present,” amid ongoing efforts to kick-start the economy.
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