AUSTIN – Gov. Greg Abbott announced to the U.S. Department of Labor on Monday that the state will be opting out of further federal unemployment compensation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective June 26, 2021.
According to a statement from the governor’s office, this includes the $300 weekly unemployment supplement from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
“The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities throughout the state,” Abbott said. “According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment benefits. That assessment does not include the voluminous jobs that typically are not listed, like construction and restaurant jobs. In fact, there are nearly 60% more jobs open (and listed) in Texas today than there was in February 2020, the month before the Pandemic hit Texas.”
The governor’s office called the current job openings “good-paying.”
According to a news release by the governor’s office, of all the jobs posted onto the Texas Workforce Commission’s website, nearly 45% of posted jobs offer wages greater than $15.50 per hour, approximately 76% pay more than $11.50 per hour and 2% of posted jobs pay around the minimum wage.
The governor’s office said that it remains committed to the state’s 100% reopening and starts with helping unemployed Texas get hired rather than allowing them to collect unemployment benefits.
Additionally, the governor’s office said, the decision was made in part due to the “high level of fraudulent unemployment claims being filed.”
The Texas Workforce Commission estimates that nearly 18% of all claims for unemployment benefits during the pandemic are confirmed or suspected to be fraudulent, “which totals more than 800,000 claims, worth as much as $10.4 billion if all claims had been paid.”
More than 967,000 Texans are currently unemployed, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Click here to see the governor’s letter in full.