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Unemployment Claims Statewide Are Lower Now Than in 2021

Business, Featured

People dressed in business attire waiting to be interviewed. | Image by Andrey Popov

According to a new WalletHub study, unemployment claims in Texas are 73.3% lower this year than they were in 2021.

“The fact that the number of unemployment claims is lower than in 2021 is a good thing because it means that the Texas labor market is recovering,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub.

The WalletHub study, States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest, found that Texas ranked No. 36 for most recovered unemployment claims since last week and No. 34 for most recovered unemployment claims since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Texas’ rank is mostly due to the fact that the number of unemployment insurance initial claims has increased by over 6% in the latest week compared to the start of 2020,” Gonzalez told The Dallas Express.

According to Gonzalez, recovery refers to the number of unemployment insurance initial claims filed.

“The states that are recovering the most have fewer unemployment claims filed,” she said. “The speed of recovery of unemployment claims is important because it’s an indicator of how fast the labor market and the economy are recovering from the pandemic.”

WalletHub data shows that Texas had an 89.75% increase in the number of unemployment claims filed since the COVID crisis.

“An increase in the number of unemployment claims is a negative thing,” Gonzalez said. “The increase indicates that the workforce in Texas is lagging in recovery after the pandemic. One of the reasons why we’re seeing a significant recovery since last year, despite the overall lag, could be the fact that the state was hit harder by the pandemic. It might have begun recovering at a slower pace or at a later time than other states and has only recently started gaining momentum.”

The study also found that South Carolina has the quickest recovery since the pandemic, while Pennsylvania has recovered the most in the past week.

“To catch up with higher-ranked states, Texas would need to have a lower number of unemployment claims filed in the future,” Gonzalez said. “South Carolina’s number of unemployment insurance initial claims has dropped by more than 16% in the past year compared to pre-pandemic levels. This is the best recovery nationwide.”

Texas is among the states that ranked in the bottom half for recovery despite ending benefits early, according to WalletHub data.

“This means that although people stopped receiving unemployment benefits, they are still not getting employed,” Gonzalez said.

At No. 51 in the ranking, Washington, D.C. has the slowest recovery across all categories.  

“To improve its ranking, D.C. would need to have fewer people filing for unemployment,” Gonzalez added. It still has almost four times as many unemployment claims in the past week compared to the same week of 2019, more than three times the number of unemployment claims filed compared to the start of 2020, and over 66% more compared to the same week of last year. Plus, the number of unemployment claims filed in the past year is almost four times higher than pre-pandemic levels.”

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