As more Texans lose their jobs, congressional unemployment benefits approach deadline

by | Jul 15, 2020 | Economy, Policy

Passed in March by the Senate, a $2 trillion stimulus bill was expected by lawmakers to provide necessary relief to unemployed Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

But by the end of this month, those unemployment benefits will expire as Congress has not yet agreed on an extension or substitute. 

Unemployment numbers continue to rise in Texas: Nearly 2.8 million people have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March, with more than a million Texans becoming unemployed over the course of the past three months. 

Since March, the unemployment rate has risen from 5.1 to 13 percent in the state.

According to a spokesperson for the Texas Workforce Commission, the agency is dependent on changes or extensions from the federal level to provide further unemployment benefits after July 31. 

Along with the stimulus bill, Democrats also championed an extra $600 a week for four months under the CARES Act, passing legislation to extend the monthly benefits through January – the Senate Republican majority was not in favor.

So unless government officials approve another stimulus check, Texans will be left on their own.

Over the past three weeks, Texas has seen a surge in coronavirus cases: The state currently ranks fifth in the country in highest test positivity rate, at 17 percent. Meanwhile, coronavirus unemployment claims have increased by nearly 50,000 in Texas alone.

We will see if June’s employment numbers will be more optimistic: The newest round of Texas labor market data will be released on July 17.

Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Sarah brings more than seven years of experience as a multimedia journalist to Texas Signal, where she serves as our Podcast and Video Producer, managing the company's three podcasts, including SignalCast, TexMix Podcast and Three Righteous Mamas, and assisting with copy-editing and social media as well. Sarah is also the Editor-at-Large at Brown Girl Magazine, and an avid artist, TV/film enthusiast and cook. Sarah graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Journalism, and received a Master's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Houston.

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