The new unemployment claims data released today reveal what we all knew was coming as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the downturn in oil prices: a tremendous strain on the Texas economy and on the health and lives of many, many Texans.
To put these numbers in context: Texas jobless claims dwarf the worst of what we saw during the height of the 2007-08 crash. In addition, in just two weeks time, claims in Texas have more than doubled (2.54 times) what we saw in the five weeks of jobless claims from the beginning of Hurricane Harvey to the two weeks following the hurricane’s end on Sept. 2, 2017.
The sudden and widespread nature of this economic crisis is in many ways akin to a massive hurricane hitting the entire state not just the Gulf Coast.
Previous disasters have taught us the stages of recovery, which is similar to what we will have to do now. Texans need help immediately getting unemployment claims paid. The $2 trillion federal coronavirus response bill, known as the CARES Act, provides critical funds to support individuals and businesses during this emergency, so the state should distribute it as soon as possible.
Then, we need an economic recovery plan.
As for the long run, Texans are a resilient, hard-working people – we will get through this.